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Cowboys Pre-Draft Visits - Do NFL Teams Play Games?

Have you taken a look at the players visiting Valley Ranch in the current pre-draft period? Who are the Cowboys really interested in? 

Let's take a look in the rear-view mirror to about this time last year. Here is a list of some of the out of town visitors.

UNLV ILB Beau Bell
Texas A&M TE Martellus Bennett
Virginia Tech OT Duane Brown
Texas RB Jamaal Charles
Missouri WR Will Franklin
Indiana WR James Hardy
East Carolina RB Chris Johnson
Arkansas RB Felix Jones
Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly
Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall
USC LB Keith Rivers
Oregon RB Jonathan Stewart

You see Martellus Bennett who was taken by the Cowboys in the second round and of course our first selection in the first round Felix Jones.

Let's focus in on DB's since we may have some insight into the Cowboys actual draft board regarding defensive backs. The Cowboys had visits from the following defensive backfield players before last years draft.

Arizona CB Antoine Cason
Virginia Tech CB Brandon Flowers
Iowa CB Charles Godfrey
Troy CB Leodis Mckelvin
Indiana CB Tracy Porter
Kansas CB Aqib Talib
Colorado CB Terrence Wheatley

It was no secret that the Cowboys were looking for a corner back and a running back early. Felix Jones became our first pick in the first round at #22. Our next pick was at #28 .

When you look at the list of DB's seen on a whiteboard belonging to Brian Stewart that inadvertently ended up on TV. That list appears to be - 1. DRC (Tenn. State), 2. McKelvin (Troy), 3. K. Phillips (Miami), 4. Jenkins (USF), 5. Talib (Kansas), 6. T. Johnson (Ark. State) 7. Godfrey (Iowa).



Rodgers-Cromartie, McKelvin and Talib were drafted by the time we got to choose with our first pick #22 (Felix Jones).  Our next pick was at #28 and there was only one more of our top three rated CBs on the board.  

Fearing that San Diego at (#27) had their eyes on Jenkins, the Cowboys made a move and traded their 1st, 5th and 7th round pick for Seattle's first round pick (#25) doing an end run around the Chargers. Jenkins became a Cowboy.

Did the Cowboys play some games in hiding how high they rated Jenkins? Does anyone remember Mike Jenkins paying a visit to Valley Ranch before the draft ? No? I've Googled in numerous ways and I haven't been able to find any record of Jenkins at Valley Ranch before the draft but he was seen wearing a Cowboys T-shirt at South Florida's pre-draft spring practice! I think the Cowboys had Jenkins rated high enough feeling that he would be a bargain at #28, but feared there would be competition for him there. They didn't want to tip their hand to San Diego who was the most likely suitor.

Sometimes it may be what you don't see that provides the best insight.

Why didn't the Cowboys use the same type of subterfuge with Felix Jones? Why bring him into Dallas for a pre-draft visit and not Mike Jenkins? My theory is that most teams have 18 - 22 players on their board actually rated as true first rounders . The Cowboys also have a very good idea what the other teams needs are, just as the other teams know what the Cowboys needs are.

There were some good running backs in last years draft and I believe the Cowboys had 3 or 4 RBs rated as top tier and knew that one of those would fall to them at "22. The Cowboys had a visit with all of the top RBs except McFadden -correctly assuming that he would be off the boards early.

So, do you share my conspiracy theory that the Cowboys threw a head fake to the Chargers by intentionally not inviting Jenkins?

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