If and when you tune in to the NFL Combine later this month, you'll probably be focusing on many of the names that have already dominated the pages and headlines on BTB. How will RB Todd Gurley's interviews go (he won't work out, but is expected to be available for team interviews), how fast is Melvin Gordon, how explosive is DT Michael Bennett, who'll be the most impressive edge rusher, and what's up with CB Marcus Peters? But when some of the lesser known names take the stage, you'll be wondering who to root for.
Every year, in addition to 30 usually high-profile national draft-eligible players the Cowboys bring in for pre-draft visits, they also bring in up to 50, and sometimes even more, draft-eligible local prospects who are usually less well known.
These visits by local prospects usually happen in early to mid April and are known as "Dallas Days". A player is considered a local prospect if he went to high school or college in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area, he was born there or his parents live there. That DFW area is defined as stretching from Sanctuary in the West to Princeton in the East, and from Prosper in the North to Glenn Heights in the South. SMU and TCU are the two colleges in the area from which the Cowboys are allowed to invite prospects.
These "Dallas Days" have delivered their share of Cowboys players in the past, with the likes of Patrick Crayton, Brandon Williams, Jacques Reeves, Stephen Hodge, Bryan McCann, Dez Bryant, Phillip Tanner and more recently Lance Dunbar, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams all visiting Valley Ranch during Dallas Day.
We don't yet know which local prospects the Cowboys will invite this year, but we do know which 321 players are invited to the Combine this year. And we also have a pretty good idea about which Combine invitees would qualify as local prospects for the Cowboys. Here are the 16 local players we know of who'll be attending the Combine this year.
|CBS rank||Player||POS||Height||Weight||Projected Round||College||Home/HS|
|52||Jay Ajayi||RB||6-0||216||2||Boise State||Frisco|
|53||Daryl Williams||OT||6-6||329||2||Oklahoma||Lake Dallas|
|55||Mario Edwards**||DE||6-3||294||2||Florida State||Denton|
|100||Cedric Ogbuehi||OT||6-5||300||3||Texas A&M||Allen|
|177||Dezmin Lewis||WR||6-4||212||5-6||Central Arkansas||Mesquite|
|182||Adam Shead||OG||6-4||339||5-6||Oklahoma||Cedar Hill|
|428||B.J. Catalon||RB||5-9||190||- -||TCU||*|
|* Eligible for Dallas Days because prospect attended local area college
**Mario Edwards may not qualify as a local prospect, as he went to school in DFW but doesn't live there anymore
The players are arranged according to how they rank on the CBS Sports big board. Notable omissions from the Combine invite list who may show up at Dallas Day are two former TCU players: DT Chucky Hunter and safety Sam Carter.
What's nice about this list is that it's top-heavy. There are six to seven prospects here who could go in the top three rounds, an unusually high number for Dallas Day visitors. Whether that turns out to be an advantage for the Cowboys and whether the Cowboys select any local prospects in the draft remains to be seen - but just from the list of local prospects above, you could probably construct a pretty nifty mock draft.
While some of the names on the list will be familiar to Cowboys fans, others will have even hardcore draftniks scrambling for their draft manuals. But with this list in hand, you'll know who to root for once the lesser known names take the stage at the Combine - you never know, one of them might end up a Cowboy.
If nothing else, us this list to get a head start on your pet cats this year. But if you're planning on watching the Combine, think of this as your Cowboys Rooting Guide for the Combine, and bookmark it!!