Picking at the top of rounds has its advantages, one being that it's likely to net the Cowboys at least three picks within the top-100. We see every season where players rise and fall, so, in essence, Dallas will still be picking some highly-talented players into the fourth round. Speaking of the fourth round, thanks to compensatory picks, they will likely pick twice in the fourth round. That's a big sigh of relief for a team that needs a huge dose of depth. For today, we'll take a look at what could be available to them at pick 102.
WR Bralon Addison, 5'10, 190 lbs, Oregon (CBS 101st)
Addison has a similar build to Brandin Cooks and Rob Rang calls him a big play waiting to happen. He's got great vision and soft hands that allow for him to make terrific catches. He's compact but has that terrific agility to get to his top-end speed almost immediately.
He reminds you of a younger DeSean Jackson but without the mental mistakes. He led all receivers at Oregon this season with 63 receptions, 804 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns after missing the entire 2014 season due to ACL surgery. The only true knock on his game has been his height, but Brugler has stated that doesn't change his ability to compete for jump balls. With the emphasis on the uptempo offenses in the NFL, it wouldn't be surprising to see Addison crack the top 60 in this year's draft. He's speedy but has great hands too. Usually, you get one and have to develop the other.
DE Jihad Ward, 6'5, 296 lbs, Illinois (CBS 126th)
Despite his size, Ward played rather well as the right defensive end at the Senior Bowl. He's considered a bit of a tweener, which can sometimes get people frustrated. However, where some see tweener, I see versatility and that's something that Rod Marinelli loves.
He's got the length and thick limbs as a defender with that first-step quickness to build upon. He overcame a knee injury to become a great addition to the Illinois defensive line. He's a very athletic player and doesn't play with stiffness. He has some technique things he needs to work on, but Ward could easily be considered in the top-100 this draft season.
RB C.J. Prosise, 6'1, 220 lbs, Notre Dame (CBS 120th)
Prosise is an interesting candidate at running back, his athleticism and talent were on display in 2015. After playing mostly wide receiver and safety, the Irish decided to throw him at running back for the first time last offseason. Let's just say that he was a quick learner. Due to injury, Prosise became the started and led the team with 1,029 rushing yards on 157 carries with a 6.6 yard per carry average.
For never playing the position before, Prosise showed that he was a natural body at the position and added 11 rushing touchdowns for the Irish. He's got tremendous vision, body strength, and agility. He's a very fluid runner and has the cutting ability of an NFL prospect with the patience to see and deliver. He's still an unfinished product, having only one year of experience, but he certainly is intriguing.
OLB Eric Striker, 5'11, 225 lbs, Oklahoma (CBS 121st)
Striker is a player that many have fallen in love with. He's a fantastic athlete and is a three-time All Big-12 pick and has posted some impressive numbers in his time in Norman. He's got 191 tackles, 46.5 tackles for loss and 23 sacks in a Von Miller-type role for the Sooners. There are going to be concerns about his size and fit in the NFL, but Striker is an impressive guy.
He's got impeccable closing speed and awareness and isn't likely to be taken out of plays due to his elite first-step burst. He's tough and durable and showed tremendous timing at the Senior Bowl practices. He's improved in each year at Oklahoma, really taking a focus on not letting defenders get their hands on him and showing patience. Finding a fit for him will be tough, but Striker's a dynamic player and has versatility across the board.
CB Deiondre' Hall, 6'2, 192 lbs, Northern Iowa (CBS 132nd)
The 2015 Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Year is shaping up to be the exact type of player that Will McClay really likes. He's got a long, athletic frame with impressively long arms. He will certainly need to put on a little more bulk but it's hard to argue with this kid's numbers and athletic prowess. Like Jalen Ramsey, Hall played a little corner, safety, and linebacker.
He was obviously the most standout player on Northern Iowa's defense. He's got terrific eyes and awareness with insanely good instincts and ball-skills. He definitely fits the mold of a ball-hawk type player with 21 passes defended and 13 interceptions in 46 starts. He's still a bit undeveloped and will need to work on his footwork, but Hall has all the traits to become a solid corner or safety at the next level.
QB Dak Prescott, 6'2, 226 lbs, Mississippi State (CBS 115th)
Dak is an impressive type of player fitting that true dual-threat quarterback mold. He's everything that Tim Tebow wanted to be with better mobility, anticipation, and accuracy. Prescott owns 38 school records, is a two-time All-American, two-time First-Team All-SEC and was the MVP of the Liberty Bowl and Senior Bowl. He's got a feel for the game and has really shown a lot of development between the ears.
Some scouts have likened him to having the upside of Russell Wilson. He'll need to learn to not predetermine his throws at the next level and still has some development needed in footwork. However, Prescott has shown that he has all the right traits to become a quarterback in the NFL, but it will take some patience to develop him.
CB Eric Murray, 5'11, 198lbs, Minnesota (CBS 129th)
You would be hard-pressed to find many teams that had a better one-two punch at cornerback than the Golden Gophers. Dane Brugler of CBS describes Murray as a very well-rounded athlete with good size and is comfortable in both press and zone coverages. Murray has only one interception in his collegiate career, but he had 18 passes defended over his 26 starts too.
He was a physical presence for the Gophers in both run defense and as a blitzer. Murray has been lauded by his coaches for his character and never-quit attitude. He's not flashy, he's just consistent. His scouting reports remind me of Orlando Scandrick, without the grouchy demeanor.