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Five Dark Horse Draft Prospects For The Dallas Cowboys, Including Three Defensive Backs

A look at some great athletes that haven’t been connected to the Cowboys as much as other draft prospects.

NCAA Football: Texas at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Usually, at this point in the draft process, we’re all very aware of the names that will be associated with the Dallas Cowboys in the millions of mock drafts that are floating around. However, these mocks get recycled over and over again and the same names keep floating to the top. There are some potential guys that could be on the Cowboys’ radar that nobody has had many discussions about.

There are risers and fallers in the draft process every year and this one will be no different. Think about when the Cowboys selected Travis Frederick or even when Byron Jones jumped his way into the first round. It happens all the time so it got us thinking, surely there are guys that we’re not talking about that we should. Well, we’re here to bring a few to light today.

DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State

Willis is flying up the boards as he was the top performer in four Combine drills. Those being the vertical jump (39 inches), 40-yard dash (4.53), the 3-cone drill (6.85), and the 20-yard shuttle (4.28). He’s also the number two rated edge rusher in the SPARQ ratings that we know the Cowboys put a stake in. Willis is obviously very athletic and he comes from the Power 5 conferences, something the Cowboys do consider heavily when drafting guys.

Willis was at one point considered a day two selection but he’s put himself in the day one conversation with his performances. In the Senior Bowl, he was one of the standout performers. He finished his day with two tackles for loss, two sacks, and two forced fumbles. What was once a third-round prospect is without a doubt a lot higher on the list now. Willis has bend, speed, and power that some of these pass rushers lack.

OLB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

Watt is becoming an intriguing option to think about but you would almost certainly have to get him at 28, which may be a smidge higher than you would want. He’s a one-year starter for Wisconsin who comes from a very obviously talented bloodline. He’s the third-highest rated edge rusher according to SPARQ. Watt, like his brother, is a very disruptive type of player with violent hands and instincts that leap at you.

Watt is labeled as a “tweener” but he certainly has room on his frame to add bulk at the NFL level. Though some folks believe he is a 3-4 outside linebacker, he's shown the technique and physical traits of a guy who can play 4-3 end. As the draft process has unfolded, Watt is gaining more trust among Cowboys’ draft enthusiasts.

CB Fabian Moreau, UCLA

If you’re looking for a cornerback that has extreme athleticism, Moreau is most certainly a guy that should pique your interest. He’s SPARQ’s second-rated cornerback. He has the size and physical traits to excel at the NFL level. He’s shown that he’s constantly finding ways to improve as he’s a converted former running back.

Moreau has the length the Cowboys want and is a very fluid athlete. He’s just scratching the surface of his potential. Moreau is a willing tackler in the open field and that would pair well with a guy like Anthony Brown. Moreau is smart and instinctual but needs to improve on causing turnovers.

S Marcus Williams, Utah

Admittedly, Williams is more of a free safety prospect, but you can never have enough good defensive backs. Williams has the potential to become the NFL’s next ball-hawking safety in the mold of an Ed Reed (Broaddus thinks so). He’s SPARQ’s top safety prospect and his measurable are all there, though he could put on a bit of bulk.

His athleticism is unmatched but he’s not the physical presence to take over for the departed Barry Church. The Cowboys already have Byron Jones as their free safety and it could be difficult to envision two safeties of the same mold. The point is that Williams creates turnovers, that’s his M.O. and this team would take that all day.

CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado

The Buffalos quietly had one of the best cornerback tandems in all of college football. Awuzie is a close family friend of the retired cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. He’s got some similarities to him as well and is rated fifth by SPARQ metrics. Like everyone on this list, he’s a standout athlete and that’s perhaps one of the Cowboys’ most coveted traits.

He’s not always the most reliable tackler but that’s not his game. He’s all about creating opportunities and breaking up passing routes. He’s not necessarily super-fast but he’s got quick feet and plays sticky football, meaning he leaves little room between him and his man. There is a ton of versatility with Awuzie and he’s got polished technique and good awareness.

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