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Cowboys Pre-Draft Visit Tracker: Six Potential First-Round Picks Already Scheduled To Visit Dallas

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Is the list of names the Cowboys are bringing in for pre-draft visits to Valley Ranch a good indicator of what the Cowboys will do in the draft?

Clemson's Shaq Lawson is coming to Dallas for an official visit
Clemson's Shaq Lawson is coming to Dallas for an official visit
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys just created a bit of a stir when it was reported that they would be working out all the top QBs in this year's draft class, starting with Paxton Lynch whom they worked out in Florida on Wednesday. Workouts with Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Connor Cook are also expected to happen soon, while Dak Prescott has already been through a workout.

But in the Cowboys' hierarchy of pre-draft meetings, workouts, interviews, and visits, private workouts frankly don't mean all that much. Last year for example, the Cowboys had private workouts with at least 18 players that we know about, including five QBs, but ended up drafting just one of the guys they worked out, OT Laurence Gibson.

The holy grail of Cowboys pre-draft activity is the official pre-draft visit. Every year in early April, the Cowboys are allowed to bring in up to 30 usually high-profile, national draft-eligible players for official pre-draft visits. Additionally, they also bring in as many draft-eligible local prospects as they like for visits and workouts during "Dallas Day", also sometime in April.

Here's why we watch the official pre-draft visits so closely: Over the last 10 years, nine of the Cowboys' 10 top picks in the draft all visited Valley Ranch as part of the Cowboys' official pre-draft visits. Bobby Carpenter ('06), Anthony Spencer ('07), Felix Jones ('08), Jason Williams ('09), Dez Bryant ('10) and Tyron Smith ('11) were all brought in for pre-draft visits, while Morris Claiborne ('12) became the exception that proved the rule: Claiborne became the first Cowboys top pick since DeMarcus Ware in 2005 who wasn't invited to Valley Ranch prior to the draft. But the Cowboys got right back on track when they invited Travis Frederick ('13), Zack Martin ('14), and then brought in Byron Jones for an official visit last year.

But it's not just about the top pick.

  • In 2015, the Cowboys brought in their first six draft picks (Byron Jones, Randy Gregory, Chaz Green, Damien Wilson, Ryan Russell, Mark Nzeocha) for official pre-draft visits, and also brought in UDFA signing George Farmer to Valley Ranch.
  • In 2014, the Cowboys brought in their top two draft picks, Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence, for pre-draft visits, and also brought in 7th-round pick Ken Bishop as well as UDFA signings Davon Coleman, Chris Whaley, Ben Malena and Dashaun Phillips to Valley Ranch.
  • In 2013, the pre-draft visitors proved to be a veritable bonanza for the Cowboys personnel department: Cowboys draft picks Travis Frederick, Terrance Williams, J.J. Wilcox, B.W. Webb, and Joseph Randle were all brought in for pre-draft visits, as were six UDFA signings (Jakar Hamilton, Brandon Magee, Kendial Lawrence, Taylor Reed, Lanear Sampson and Devin Smith).
  • In 2012, they brought in Kyle Wilber, Matt Johnson, Ronald Leary, and UDFA Lionel Smith, the year before it was the top three draft pick Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter, and DeMarco Murray along with UDFA Andre Holmes.

Unfortunately, the Cowboy don't release an official list of the players they invite, work out or interview in the lead-up to the draft, so it's left to us to piece together which players they are bringing in. Here are the players we know of so far:

Cowboys Pre-draft Visitors per 3/23/2016
CBS Rank Name POS College Proj. Rd Status
3 Joey Bosa DE Ohio State 1 Official Visit
10 Vernon Hargreaves CB Florida 1 Official Visit
11 Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss 1 Official Visit
13 Shaq Lawson DE Clemson 1 Official Visit
14 Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville 1 Official Visit
38 Derrick Henry RB Alabama 1-2 Official Visit
549 Ryan Brown DE Mississippi State - - Official Visit

In addition to the 30 players the Cowboys bring in for pre-draft visits, they also bring in up to 50, and sometimes even more, draft-eligible local prospects who are usually less well known. A player is considered a local prospect if he went to high school or college in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area, he was born there or his parents live there. That DFW area is defined as stretching from Sanctuary in the West to Princeton in the East, and from Prosper in the North to Glenn Heights in the South. TCU, SMU and North Texas are the three colleges in the area from which the Cowboys are allowed to invite prospects, and we can expect a large contingent of TCU player to show up for Dallas Day this year. For now though, we don't have a lot of names for that event.

Dallas Day Visitors
CBS Rank Name POS College Proj. Rd Status
268 Demarcus Ayers WR Houston 7-FA Dallas Day
949 Jakeem Grant WR Texas Tech - - Dallas Day

Here's a list of players the Cowboys have had or will have private workouts with. Again, these workouts are just a regular part of the pre-draft evaluation process and don't necessarily signal a heightened interest - unless these names begin showing up on the official visits list.

Private Workouts
CBS Rank Name POS College Proj. Rd Status
5 Jared Goff QB California 1 Private Workout
7 Carson Wentz QB N.D. State 1 Private Workout
33 Paxton Lynch QB Memphis 1-2 Private Workout
39 Connor Cook QB Michigan State 1-2 Private Workout
106 Dak Prescott QB Mississippi State 3-4 Private Workout
184 Justin Simmons DB Boston College 5-6 Private Workout
207 Yannick Ngakoue DE Maryland 6 Private Workout
250 Luke Rhodes LB William & Mary 7 Private Workout
271 Terrance Smith LB Florida State 7-FA Private Workout
306 Alonzo Russell WR Toledo 7-FA Private Workout
- - Robert Johnson WR Mississippi State - - Private Workout

Lots of things to ponder here. What's your take on these lists so far?