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Dallas Cowboys Draft 2016: Dark Horse Candidates For Dallas On Draft Day

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We all have preconceived notions about what the Dallas Cowboys are going to do on draft weekend. Why don't we throw a wrench into the system for once?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We all have a pretty good idea of what the Cowboys may be looking to do this draft season. We've spent countless hours bringing forth tons of write-ups on a plethora of players. However, we also know that as gung-ho we all are about the draft, that doesn't translate to being correct in our assessments.

So, for today's exercise, I wanted to bring forth possible selections in each round that may throw the proverbial wrench in the system. Are these likely to happen, probably not. However, think of it as another write-up on some interesting players. It's just a dark-horse candidate for  rounds 1-4 so away we go...

First Round

Let's say Dallas isn't too keen on Jared Goff or Joey Bosa. Let's say that Jalen Ramsey is off the board to San Diego as is the top quarterback prospect, Carson Wentz. So, Dallas looks to trade back and get some extra picks. Here are two guys that haven't showed up on mocks in a while.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

By now we are all familiar with the best running back in the class and the reason it would make sense centers around all the Jerry-talk from the weekend. If we are to believe what Mr. Jones has stated then he's looking to find an impact player. You can't argue against a defensive player here but also, Elliott is considered one of the safest bets in the class. You are going to get a runner with vision, power, explosiveness and just an all around great player and a hard worker. A 'special' back could do 'special' things for the Cowboys. This offensive line has shown that they don't need a special back but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be exciting to have one.

DeForest Buckner, DE/DT, Oregon

Buckner was mocked to the Cowboys in the beginning of the offseason but seems an unlikely pick. However, his 6' 7", 291 lbs frame is intriguing and he's very versatile. He's a monstrous looking athlete with great length and a polished pass rushing arsenal for a young guy. Buckner improved with each year as a Duck and projects to be a terrific pass rusher in the NFL. He's a quick guy that shows his explosion off the ball and had some serious production with 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in 2015.

Second Round

Depending on the results of the first round, that pick at 34 seems like a spot they could look at a cornerback or pass rusher. However, if we assume they cover that in round one, they may be looking at offensive weapons for Tony Romo.

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

I've mocked him several times to the Cowboys in the second round and he only helped his case at the Combine. This is a class of pretty slow receivers, Doctson only ran a 4.5 in the 40, but he showed his large catch radius and leaping ability. He had no trouble plucking the ball out of the air and his vision was outstanding. He's going to be a receiver that gives a lot of defensive coordinators some headaches. Not only is his playmaking ability pretty easy to see, he's an outstanding leader and nobody in Fort Worth has anything bad to say about him. He's a boy scout who gets plain nasty on the field.

Vonn Bell, SS, Ohio State

These Buckeyes seem to keep coming up, don't they? Bell is one of the better defensive backs in the draft. He's got some serious versatility. He can come down and play in the box but you can also leave him on an island. He's very smart and doesn't get baited easily. He's tough and looks to wrap up the tackle every time. He's consistent and has such great footwork and hip placement that he can mirror receivers. He was obviously an integral part of the Ohio State defense and there is no doubt he's going to make an NFL team very happy.

Third Round

Kamalei Correa, OLB/DE, Boise State

The Cowboys certainly love their Broncos, don't they? Well, it's because they have put forth a pretty solid factory for defensive linemen. At 6' 3", 243 lbs, he's a little undersized but has shown some explosiveness with the heavy hands to shed blockers. He may be converted into a linebacker due to his intelligence and awareness. He can run too and he's a very agile athlete with the ability to seriously cover when asked to. Correa has great closing speed and has the elite burst to be a situational pass rusher. If he adds more bulk, he can certainly become a full-time rusher at the next level with athleticism off the charts.

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

He showed a bit of everything at the Combine. On one hand you saw the arm strength and quick feet. He made some terrific throws down the seam and made it look effortless. However, you also saw some accuracy issues and some nervousness. He needs some extra development but definitely has a live and elite arm with the ability to do whatever he wants with it. There will be some doubters but this is a kid who dealt with a lot of adversity and could use a good offense to learn in. Hackenberg has always had the talent and he can take the punishment. He just needs some more work in a few key areas.

Fourth Round

D.J. White, CB, Georgia Tech

White doesn't have elite size but he does have some length and uses it well. He's slipped through the cracks of a somewhat deep cornerbacks class, but this kid has some raw ability. He's light on his feet, competitive and is as athletic as any corner in the draft. He projects better as a nickel cornerback but he has some elite skill in awareness and intelligence for the game. He rarely is out of place but knows how to tackle and is willing to lay a hit on somebody. Where he intrigues me most is he always seems to make game-changing plays, that will get you drafted every day of the week.

Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State

The MEAC Defensive Player of the Year for two years running has a ton of athleticism and can move well for a man his size. He's got a tremendous first step and has some explosiveness at the point of attack. He's an avid disruptor of the pocket and wins quite regularly. There are concerns about his footwork and level of competition, but he did stand out in the Shrine game. He's perfectly suited to the 4-3 defense and his ability to convert his quickness to power will show up in the NFL. He's just another solid player in a defensive tackle class that may be the best we've seen in a long time.