One of the beauties of picking so high in the draft is that it will almost certainly give the Cowboys a chance at three players in the top-100 available. That's really good news for a team that is still trying to build depth throughout their roster. The Cowboys also have to consider the many depth players that are currently set to hit free agency this offseason. Once you look past the few big names that won't be retained, you see guys like Jack Crawford, Ronald Leary, Kyle Wilber and others to consider bringing back or finding replacements.
Let's take a look at the youthful class of players that could be available to the Cowboys with their 68th pick. Remember, often times, you're still looking at players that figure to play significant time in their rookie seasons. In fact, most teams find starters in the third round and it's not unheard of for those guys to find success in their rookie seasons. Tevin Coleman and Jordan Hicks come to mind from last season as players that showed they were ready to contribute from the beginning. Of course, we know all too well about the former Longhorn in Hicks. With that depression set aside, let's focus on some mid-round options.
DE Ronald Blair, 6'3 272 lbs, Appalachian State (CBS 145th Prospect)
Analysis: Pay no mind to that ranking by our buddies at CBS. Dane Brugler will be the first to tell you that Blair's ability to rush the passer is going to have him a lot higher than that and even as early as the second round for some. The third round seems about right for Blair, who is outstanding at the point of attack. He uses his length to push around blockers and can be violent with his hands. Blair was unblockable in a game this year against the consensus number one team in the country in Clemson. His size and build remind you a bit of Greg Hardy (who was found in the sixth round). In a pass rush class that doesn't run too deep, Blair is slowly but surely rising up those charts. He would be an excellent complement to guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory. Marinelli always wants guys with that elite first-step quickness. He's even passed before on potential first-rounders due to not having that quick twitch. Blair has all the tools that Marinelli looks for, it's unfortunate that some will overlook him based on the school he played at. If you doubt this man, just go watch that Clemson game, seriously. Get up the field, maintain position, and get to the guy with the ball. That's the modus operandi of Blair, pretty simple.
RB Kenneth Dixon, 5'10 215 lbs, Louisiana Tech (CBS 75th Prospect)
Analysis: For my money, Dixon is the best senior running back in the draft. Some folks will have trepidation with the 900+ carries he took in his time with the Bulldogs. However, Dixon showed consistently the attribute it takes to be a true leader for his team as well as one the most productive players in Bulldog History. Dixon is quick and has that one-cut ability that is a staple of a zone-blocking back. He's decisive and is an excellent north-south runner. He's got a muscular but compact build which allows him to take some punishment without too much damage. He's got some all-around attributes that lead me to believe he can become a workhorse back at the NFL level. Dixon is a self-starter and doesn't need much motivation. He loves football and you can tell that he will fight to get every last yard on the field. He's a willing pass blocker and has the ability to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield with 11 yards per reception. Dixon is certainly going to give the team that drafts him all of his effort each and every Sunday. This is a player that doesn't wear down, what you get in the first quarter will follow him into the final minutes. He's an outstanding prospect with consistency at every turn.
CB Artie Burns, 6'0 193 lbs, Miami, CBS 69th Prospect)
Analysis: Much like Byron Jones, this is a cornerback with really good athletic ability. Now, Burns is not the sum of all his parts yet, but he has shown to be an excellent press coverage corner for the Canes. He's really fast which allows him to mirror receivers and not lose ground as a defender. One of his best attributes has got to be his ability to diagnose quarterback's eyes and snag interceptions. He's got a keen sense of the ball and where it's going to go. His athleticism and awareness got him seven interceptions for The U and he's just scratching the surface. He's got some versatility as well having been asked to play safety. He's a willing run defender but still needs help in that area. He's shown some good aggressiveness as a blitzer and has the ability to disrupt receivers routes due ti his acceleration. For the Cowboys, they have plenty of question marks surrounding their defensive backs. I've made it clear that I'm on the table for Jalen Ramsey. If that doesn't happen, they should seriously consider taking multiple defensive backs this draft season. Burns has size, speed, and skill. With a little more development, he could turn into a sure-fire starter rather quickly.
WR Pharoh Cooper, 5'11 208 lbs, South Carolina (CBS 61st Prospect)
Analysis: Dallas' receiving corps suffered from the absence of Dez Bryant, but that was also in part to Tony Romo's injury too. Still, this wide receivers group could use a little freshening up and there will be plenty of options for them in a rather deep class. Cooper is a little bit of everything but he does have really soft hands to catch anything in his radius. He was the jack-of-all-trades for the Gamecocks and even played a little wildcat quarterback. He showed excellent vision and athletic ability to pluck the ball out of the air even if he has to extend to go get it. He's got some favorable comparisons to Randall Cobb dues to his creativity as a receiver. He has shown the innate ability to get open and bail his quarterback out at times when it seems like a bad play is about to happen. Cooper is still working on his route tree but he's very athletic and can redirect with the best of them without losing any sort of momentum. He gets great separation and makes lots of plays, what's not to like. He's got value as both a special teamer and offensive weapon.
ILB Scooby Wright III, 6'0 246 lbs, Arizona (CBS 114th Prospect)
Analysis: Here's another player where I say throw out the prospect ranking on him. Wright is simply a playmaker and don't let his size fool you. He's been rightfully compared to Zach Thomas and that is about as accurate a description as any comparison in this year's draft. He's got instincts that are off the charts and even won the Bronko Nagurski, Rotary Lombardi and Bednarik Awards for outstanding play at linebacker. He's relentless in his approach and it's not too far-fetched to see an absolute playmaker at the NFL level. He's not a guy who wastes movement, due to his good but not great speed, he gets to the ball carrier in as few moves as possible. He's very intelligent but will fall in concern to his size and build. However, if you are looking for a guy that makes tackles and doesn't miss them, this is your guy. Wright can recognize a play before the quarterback even knows what he's going to run. It's not wonder why Brugler says he has Jedi-Like instincts. That's pretty high praise and one that warrants some early to mid round consideration. Dallas needs some adequate help at linebacker, I've been saying all along how much good linebacking helps a Marinelli defense. Well, Scooby Wright is certainly going to be help to anyone who grabs him.