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Cowboys News: The Visitors Arrive At Valley Ranch

The first group has come to Dallas for the annual schmoozing of draft prospects. And Tony Romo now has a deal he made that he has to fulfill.

Todd Gurley was the big name, but not the only one visiting Valley Ranch.
Todd Gurley was the big name, but not the only one visiting Valley Ranch.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Pre-Draft Visit Tracker: Defensive Ends Dupree, Odighizuwa To Visit Cowboys - Blogging The Boys

You can't tell the players without a program (hey, they are wearing suits, not numbers), so we have to start off with the most complete list of known Dallas Cowboys pre-draft visitors known to man or cyborg, the one compiled by the nearly omniscient OCC. You might want to bookmark this at least until after the draft. This can be a big tip-off as to who Dallas is looking at, especially in the first couple of rounds.

Todd Gurley headlines list of Cowboys visitors this week | ProFootballTalk

To most observers, Todd Gurley is the biggest name coming into Valley Ranch. The team is clearly interested in him, but it may well mean he is just out of range for Dallas.

The first set of players scheduled for visits with the team arrived in town on Monday night and one name that's sure to capture attention is Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Gurley ranks at the top of this year's list of running back prospects even after last year's torn ACL and the Cowboys are thought to be in the market for help at the position after watching DeMarco Murray sign in Philadelphia.

Georgia’s Todd Gurley first of at least five RBs to visit Cowboys this week | | Dallas Morning News

Although we watch the list of confirmed visitors closely to try and determine who the team is really interested in, we may also glean something from who does not show up, especially if we were expecting them to.

Georgia's Todd Gurley, considered the top running back in this draft, is meeting with coaches and club officials today. While there were indications Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah would visit this week, that's not the case. But Alabama's T.J. Yeldon is on the list.

T.J. Yeldon among runners visiting Dallas Cowboys - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN

The Alabama product has not been talked about as much as some of the other backs, but the way he fits may be key to understanding the approach Dallas is taking to the position.

After putting up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in his first two years at Alabama, Yeldon had just 979 in 2014 but he scored 37 touchdowns in his career. He is also solid as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.

With the visits, the Cowboys have covered themselves with runners expected to go in the top three rounds.

Possible Pick: Washington LB Shaq Thompson Has A Knack For Turnovers | Dallas Cowboys

Sometimes there are players in the draft that, the more you read about them, the more they grow on you. For some of us, the versatile Thompson, who played running back and safety as well as llinebacker in college, is one of those.

How He Helps the Cowboys: The linebacker spot looks a little crowded after free agency, where the Cowboys signed Rolando McClainJasper Brinkley and Andrew Gachkar. Thompson would still give them an athletic outside linebacker for the foreseeable future. He'd be great insurance against Sean Lee's injury problems, and he might even be able to compete for the strong side linebacker spot.

Cowboys have huge hole and no one player can fill it | | Dallas Morning News

The loss of DeMarco Murray has drawn most of the attention so far, but the team also has a big problem trying to find a way to replace Dwayne Harris, who was a bit of a Swiss Army knife for the team. Will they be able to find someone who can at least help fill those shoes?

"Offensively, I wouldn't say it's out of the question that we look for a player that has some skill sets like Dwayne did, a returner, a special teams player, a fourth/fifth type receiver,'' executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "We haven't taken care of that yet.

Bob Sturm’s 2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Nelson Agholor, WR, USC | | Dallas Morning News

Now that the subject of replacing Harris has been brought up, maybe Nelson Agholor could be part of the solution.

Agholor is not at the top of this group with those alpha dogs who look like world beaters in the Top 10-15 picks.  Rather, he is going to be in that next class as either a 1b or a 2 type receiver who will also immediately impact your return game.  And you know, there is nothing wrong with any of that and as a guy who might grow into something more, I would have no problem with a player of this quality pretty early in the draft.

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The Final Weeks of Draft Preparation | National Football Post

This is a really good read that provides a nice overview of what NFL teams are doing in the last month leading up to the draft. And it adds a word of caution to us while we try to divine the Cowboys' intentions during the team visits.

When a club brings in a player, they may or may not publicize the visit, but I can assure you that most teams know who their competitors have brought in. Why? Clubs want to know who their competition may be for certain players. Because of that, some visits are purely "smokescreen" visits just to throw off the other teams.

Let's say a club has an obvious need at defensive tackle, and they would like to take care of that need with their first pick. They aren't going to just bring in the targeted player. They may bring in four or five players at that position and let the other clubs guess as to who they have the most interest in. A club never wants to show its hand. They may also elect to not bring in the player they really want, so that particular player is never tied to their team. It's all part of the gamesmanship that goes on.

Tony’s Turn: Revisiting the championship pact Tony Romo made with Duke’s Jahlil Okafor over a year ago | Dallas Morning News

I gather that there was some kind of big college basketball thing going on earlier this week. Normally, that would not have much to do with a professional football team, but it seems that Tony Romo has become something of a well-known Duke Blue Devils fan, and he got to see them win the big one. And it turns out, he made a deal over a year ago with one of the members of the team, Jahlil Okafor, back when he was still just a high school recruit.

"Selfie with Tony Romo last night at the Duke game. Said he's a part of the Duke fam too. Our deal is for me to win a national championship next year and for him to win the Super Bowl. #Duke #Cowboys #ItsJustDifferent"

OK, Tony, we have just three words for you: Next. Man. Up.

Dallas Cowboys DE Ben Gardner sounds off on NCAA, calls Mark Emmert ‘biggest crook in America’ | Dallas Morning News

Ben Gardner has achieved a sort of semi-legendary status already here, despite the fact he has still not made a real contribution to the team on the field. And the Stanford product apparently has strong feelings on how the NCAA and its member schools are making millions off the student athletes who are not only unpaid, but can lose their scholarship over things like free meals.

LeSean McCoy of Buffalo Bills doesn't think Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly likes or respects 'star' players

Why is this here? Oh, you know why.

"I don't think he likes or respects the stars. I'm being honest," McCoy told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday. "I think he likes the fact that it's 'Chip Kelly and the Eagles.'"

Follow me @TomRyleBTB