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Cowboys Draft 2016: Third-Round Targets Who Can Make A Difference

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The third round of the NFL draft is where the good teams separate themselves from the bad. The Cowboys need to become more consistent picking in the third.

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As we get closer to the 2016 draft, we dig deeper and deeper into the prospects. While fans and media are concentrated on what happens on day one of the draft, front offices know that further down the board they still need to make the correct evaluation. The Cowboys have had mixed results in round three over the last few years. They have been able to find guys like DeMarco Murray (2011), and Tyrone Crawford (2012), but have also used their third-rounders on the likes of J.J. Wilcox (2013), and Chaz Green (2015). This year's third round is no less important, so let's find some value for Dallas at pick 67.

Paul Perkins - RB, UCLA

A lot of attention is being paid to a part-time running back from UCLA at the top of the draft, but their lead back is a pretty good player, too. Perkins has been a producer for coach Jim Mora, Jr.'s Bruins, having rushed for 2,918 yards and 23 touchdowns over his last two seasons. He isn't a big imposing back, but at 5' 10" and 208 pounds he understands how to use leverage in pass protection and shows some pretty impressive elusiveness when running between the tackles. He isn't on the same level as Ezekiel Elliot or even Derrick Henry, but if the Cowboys haven't addressed the running back spot by the third round they should target Perkins if he's still available.

Miles Killebrew - S, Southern Utah

Killebrew is a small school safety who's been receiving some buzz as a top 100 player in this year's draft. Dallas hasn't done well with small school prospects in the recent past but that shouldn't stop them from looking at Killebrew here. He plays near the line of scrimmage and is a very sure tackler (132 his senior year), who loves to deliver the big hit. He also has some coverage ability. As a junior Killebrew had three interceptions including a pick six, and in his senior season he recorded seven pass break-ups. NFL.com compares him favorably to another third round safety from last year's draft, Jaquiski Tartt of the San Francisco 49ers.

Dak Prescott - QB, Mississippi State

You don't have to be watching to carefully to notice that the Cowboys front office has some interest in Prescott. The coaching staff faced off against him in the annual Senior Bowl back in January, and Prescott was named the games most outstanding player. Prescott was a major reason for the rise of the Mississippi State Bulldogs to national prominence in his junior season. He was the early Heisman trophy front-runner and finished the season with 3,449 yards passing and 27 touchdowns through the air. He is a true dual-threat quarterback who has excellent arm strength and is also a powerful runner. In four years at MSU he totaled 2,521 yards on the ground and 41 rushing scores. He will need some work to be NFL ready,  but a few seasons behind starter Tony Romo could be just the ticket.

Nick Martin - C, Notre Dame

With the departure of back-up center/guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, the Cowboys are now looking for answers behind their starting interior linemen. One name they will undoubtedly be interested in is that of Notre Dame center Nick Martin. The younger brother of Cowboys All-Pro right guard Zack Martin, Nick was one of the top centers in college football the last few seasons. Nick isn't quite the athlete that his older brother is, but he shares the hard work and toughness genes. Nick Martin is seen as a guy who will be an NFL starter at some point, and the Cowboys would be a great place for him to develop his skills.

The third round does not have the glamour of the first bit this is where teams can separate themselves in terms of talent. I think the Cowboys would love to get to the 67th pick and see Prescott still available, but who knows. Maybe they decide that Nick Martin or Killebrew are just too intriguing to pass up. With just over a month to go, time is running short for the Cowboys to evaluate these players. Dallas has begun scheduling pre-draft visits and workouts and those can be an excellent indicator as to who the team is interested in, except when they aren't.