You will hear a lot about the Myles Jack's, Joey Bosa's, and Jalen Ramsey's of the world over the coming weeks and months. But every year, there are also going to be names that seemingly come from out of nowhere. Last week, we looked at six under-the-radar proospects that would be good fits for the Cowboys but that many haven't heard of. Today, we're going to add five more names to the list.
CB Xavien Howard 6'1, 200 lbs, Baylor (CBS 87th Overall)
The Cowboys have work to do at cornerback regardless of how they handle Brandon Carr's contract or Morris Claiborne's impending free agency. Howard led the Baylorand was second among Big 12 cornerbacks in interceptions and is a muscular and tall cornerback, which will get him on McClay's list.
He's got some nice hands to be able to turn and make plays on the ball. The Cowboys will like that he's very well-versed in press man coverage but doesn't seem to struggle when asked to play in zone. He's very physical and sometimes that can get him into a little trouble. Scouts like his great vision with decent speed, which has allowed him to make a quarterback's window even smaller by squeezing the receiver to the sidelines.
Howard plays with good awareness to turn and help on short routes and in run support. But he'll also need a bit more polishing in a few areas as he becomes a starting cornerback in the NFL. In just two seasons with the Bears he notched double-digit interceptions and was a trustworthy tackler. With a little more patience, he's going to develop very nicely at the next level.
DE Bronson Kaufusi 6'7, 281 lbs, BYU (CBS 79th Prospect)
Kaufusi is an interesting prospect. He originally graduated High School in 2010, but decided to go on a missionary assignment before starting at BYU, making him a 24-year-old rookie. He started as a backup to eventual top five pick Ezekiel Ansah but scouts say Kaufusi is a smarter player. Every year he seemingly got better and was stellar in his senior season where he tallied 64 tackles, 11 sacks, three forced fumbles, one recovery and an interception.
He's got a long, well-built frame and a huge wingspan. For such a big specimen, Kaufusi has quite the bit of burst and accelerates with a rare smoothness. He's got good awareness and has a tremendous motor and has even shown an ability to drop into coverage. Being the son of a coach, Bronson has already developed some key pass rushing moves and is a tenacious competitor with aggressive hands at the point of attack. He certainly has some more developing to do, but will find a fit as early as the second round with his scheme flexibility.
SS Jayron Kearse 6'4, 220 lbs, Clemson (CBS 152nd Prospect)
Coming from a bloodline of good NFL prospects, Kearse looks to take his intimidating frame to the NFL. This is a classic case of a thumper but with the athleticism to play in coverage.
He's got some scouts excited because his measurables and ball skills are off the charts. Kearse has great instincts and really shows his speed first and foremost. He's got a knack for causing turnovers but can get a little over-excited at times.
Kearse is going to need to learn to keep his good awareness for the game but play with more control. He can anticipate routes and is a fine tackler but still needs work on some of his angles. Kearse is going to intrigue many evaluators with the traits that he already possesses and may go as early as the fourth round.
TE A.J. Williams 6'5, 270 lbs, Michigan (Not Ranked)
Oh, say it ain't so? A tight end? Well, be prepared CowboysNation because they are likely to take another as they do every season. Williams is not on anybody's radar, well, except for the Cowboys and Jets.
He's a large target but that's not what he's known for, having only caught 12 passes for 129 yards and a score in Ann Arbor. Williams has the frame of an offensive tackle but was an outstanding blocker for Michigan.
For a guy his size, he moves well around the field and can really provide that extra strength in goal line situation. Also, he has been praised as having good hands, he just wasn't utilized too much in the passing game.
Still, he'll likely go in the seventh round or undrafted, but it's worth noting that the Cowboys have taken notice of him. Dallas will need some depth at tight end with Gavin Escobar likely sidelined most, if not all of the 2016 season. Williams will be valuable as a blocker and short-yardage option.
DT D.J. Reader 6'3, 340lbs, Clemson (CBS 181st Prospect)
Reader missed the majority of the 2015 season for personal reasons but had a wonderful showing at the Senior Bowl that has him climbing back up the ranks. There are remain some concerns as to why he left the program in the first half of the season. However, he did come back in October and put together a respectable effort, even if he never really made a huge impact.
Reader is surprisingly athletic for his gigantic size and starred in multiple sports for the Tigers. He played mainly at the three technique due to his penetration and first step quickness but seems a better fit at the one in a traditional 4-3 setting.
Reader has good footwork for a big man and really good short distance quickness, but still has quite a bit to learn about the technique of his position. He's got good agility and is very well balanced and can get off the ball well using leverage as a pass rusher. He's terrific as a run stopper and that will get him drafted in the late rounds, possible fifth or sixth.