The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of holes to fill and what better way to do so than with this year's draft, which is shaping up to be one of the deepest at some pertinent positions. Let's take a look at some of the players the Cowboys could look to draft with their third-round pick.
1. Select Frank Clark, DE, Michigan
Clark doesn't come without some baggage, but few players or humans do. Clark is a second-round talent but his off-the-field concerns will likely land him in the third to fourth rounds. I've made myself clear about the Cowboys position allowing them to take players a round early. Clark has the long limbs and pass rushing chops to step right in and help this football team. Speaking of his issues, Clark has not shied away or hid from his demons at all. When asked, Clark has been nothing but honest and open with his critics. If the Cowboys take a corner at 27, followed by a running back at 60, you can bet that Clark would be their target at 91. This coaching staff has done a lot of homework on the player and view him as a potential steal in 2015. Frank Clark seems to be the likely but also best option in round three of getting a player that will contribute early.
2. Select Mario Edwards Jr, DE/DT, Florida State
Caveat: Edwards has been ranked all over the place on draft boards, but I'm using rabblerousr's "little board" here.
If we were discussing the Mario of 2013, than he would be a no-brainer first-round selection. The issues are that during last season, Edwards gorged himself and proved to be much of a non-factor at times. Edwards has position flexibility and has shown the ability to be a very effective player, but there are concerns about his character and will. These are two red flags when it comes to a Marinelli defense. If you don't have the motor, than it's hard to keep you around. Edwards has done a lot to drop the weight down and get to a more manageable frame for the NFL. He's also been very honest and intelligent in his interview process. Edwards has slipped to a possible third-round selection because of his concerns, but most scouts and coaches will tell you; "if I've seen it once, I can see it again."
3. Select Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Though I'm no proponent of the 2015 quarterback class and certainly not Petty, I will say that this team definitely likes the young man. Petty has been on their radar for quite some time and the Cowboys are a fan of the program Art Briles runs up in Waco. Petty has a strong-arm and can deliver the ball with some velocity and accuracy. The issue stems from him not having much time in the position and needing to learn a pro-style offense. Petty has great leadership qualities and certainly has the will to perform at a high level. The Cowboys understand that the window for their franchise quarterback is about three to five years. With that said, they're looking at bringing in someone to groom behind him and compete with Brandon Weeden and Dustin Vaughan. Bryce Petty has the size, arm and improvisational skills that the Cowboys find intriguing and that may get his foot in the door at Valley Ranch.
4. Select James Sample, S, Louisville
I really like defensive backs from the Louisville system, they typically look the part of an NFL player and Sample fits that mold. He's rangy and athletic but also has the intelligence to read the opposing quarterbacks and make plays on the ball. Sample has been a dark-horse candidate for the Cowboys due to their reported infatuation with Demarious Randall from Arizona State. Sample is no slouch, he's got a terrific football acumen with an impeccable motor that never quits. Much like J.J. Wilcox, Sample hasn't had too much time in his position but has shown natural traits to become a force when called upon. He can make the athletic jump that leads to an interception and has the agility to take it to the house. Sample will need some more polishing but the Cowboys could use any and every play-maker type they can find.
5. Select Davis Tull, OLB, Chattanooga
I think the Cowboys would much rather have Tull at the end of the fourth but that's probably wishful thinking. Tull has come on strong in the last few weeks as a good candidate for some Marinelli-magic. Tull has the versatility to play multiple positions, but I would like to throw him into the mix for the Sam linebacker competition. He's got good size and strength and like Sean Lee, Tull possesses the high football IQ and natural instincts to play in the 4-3. He's considered a tweener by most, but can drop into coverage and rush the passer when asked. He does have a few injury concerns after breaking his leg in his senior year of high school, but Brugler says he's the type that makes others look bad due to his competitiveness and ability to never say die. Tull has been overcoming obstacle his entire football career, the Cowboys would be interested on those factors alone.
6. Select Rob Havenstein, OT/ OG, Wisconsin
Boy, the Badgers sure have themselves a farm program for linemen, don't they? Havenstein could walk right into Dallas and compete right away. Ron Leary and Doug Free's injury concerns on their own should give Dallas enough to pull the trigger early on a eventual replacement. Havenstein is big to say the very least. At, 6'7 and 321 pounds he's behemoth-like to be more accurate. He's got a great punch and superb ability to seal the edge. He may need development with taking on the speed rushers of today's NFL but Havenstein is a nasty and aggressive mauler. Ask any NFL club and they will tell you that the term mauler is met with salivation. Big Rob could turn the Cowboys offensive line from dominant to perhaps unfairly insane. Unfortunately for us, there are no highlights to watch of Rob, but you could check out some things he did for Melvin Gordon.
7. Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State
Langford is one of my favorite players in the draft, and if the Cowboys wait for a running back, here's their man. Like Tevin Coleman, he's got a lot to his game that reminds you of DeMarco Murray. What sets him apart from the other backs in this draft? Two words; pass protection. Make no mistake, Langford can make all the cuts, catch the ball and run with some speed but he excels in a position where most rookies fail. Langford fits the zone-scheme like a glove but does have some developing to do. He was a workhorse for the Spartans and would be a great addition to the Cowboys' backfield without costing a premium pick to do so. Langford just finds himself in high water when discussing Big Ten backs because of Coleman, Gordon and Ameer Abdullah. That's not to say he doesn't deserve a chance to shine the brightest, wherein Dallas he could get his chance.
To conclude the series we will end with the Cowboys 4th and 5th round possibilities this week. Once, we get into the seventh round it becomes a looking for traits instead of sure-fire contributors. Oh the possibilities...