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Cowboys News: Seven Draft Prospects On Cowboys' Radar, Including Four Defensive Linemen And Two Corners

The Cowboys were busy this week meeting with, working out, or setting up meetings with potential draft prospects, including four defensive linemen and two cornerbacks

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cowboys "Showing A Lot Of Interest" In DE Jordan Willis; Workout Scheduled With DE Tarell Basham - OCC, Blogging The Boys
Per Tony Pauline of draftanalyst.com, Ohio DE Tarell Basham has a private workout scheduled with Cowboys and the team is "also showing a lot of interest" in DE Jordan Willis out of Kansas State.

We saw earlier this week that both Basham and Willis are 'A'-quadrant players, which means they had above average production in college and showed above average athleticism at the NFL Combine in February, a combination that not many pass rushers in this draft class share.

There's a good chance Willis and Basham will both be available when the Cowboys pick at the bottom of the second round, though Willis has been rising up draft boards recently and the Cowboys might well have to use their first-round pick to get him.

Michigan Wolverines pro day notes: Taco Charlton improves 40 time - Michael Rothstein, ESPN
Taco Charlton fell out of favor among a portion of Cowboys fans after posting a poor 40 time at the NFL combine, but he improved at Michigan's pro day.

Charlton said he ran around "4.7 range, 4.80, 4.7 range, that was something that I definitely improved on and definitely wanted to do." That’s much better than Charlton’s 4.92 run in Indianapolis. It should help the pass-rusher cement his place in the first round of April’s NFL draft.

He has visits set up with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

Charlton helps himself at Michigan Pro day - Gil Brandt, NFL.com
More numbers for Charlton's 40-yard dash result.

DE Taco Charlton (6-6, 271) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 and 4.85 seconds (almost a tenth of a second faster than what he ran at the combine), and stood on the rest of his numbers from Indianapolis. He had a very good workout in which he was asked to drop into coverage as a linebacker. He helped himself.

San Diego State CB Damontae Kazee works closely with Bengals, Cowboys at Pro Day - Austin Gayle, FOX Sports
Cowboys staff ran Kazee through his drills at the Aztec's pro day, so they should have a pretty good idea about whether he could be a Cowboys target during the draft.

With a member of the Cowboys’ regime leading most of the drills, Kazee revealed elite athleticism and hip fluidity through a series of workouts. He also put his ball skills on full display, effectively tracking the ball in the air and adjusting to a number of high throws.

Standing at just 5-feet, 10-inches, Kazee best projects as a nickel cornerback at the next level because of his lack of size. However, he has both the physicality and technique needed to perform at a high level against bigger receivers and in press coverage in the NFL.

A three-year starter with the Aztecs, Kazee amassed 240 combined tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 17 interceptions, 29 passes defensed and two defensive touchdowns over the course of 53 career games on the Mesa. He was also named Mountain West Player of the Year in both his junior and senior seasons with the Aztecs (2015-16).

Cowboys "set up something" with CB Shaquill Griffin - Connor Orrr, NFL.com
Griffin turned heads with his stand-out Combine performance, and even the Cowboys have taken notice.

He is a 6-foot tall defensive back from the University of Central Florida who logged the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash (4.38 seconds), the third-best vertical jump (38.5 inches) and the second-best broad jump (11 feet) in his position group at the NFL Scouting Combine, despite not being included among the "first wave" of prospects invited.

But after his official combine numbers were posted, his calendar came to resemble that of your local CPA nearing the tax deadline. In the last week, he's already met with and worked out for the Titans. Dinner with the Lions and meetings with the Colts and 49ers were planned for Tuesday. The Cowboys called Monday to set something up. Nineteen teams, including the Dolphins and Patriots, are set to speak with him at UCF's pro day. He has visits lined up with the Seahawks and Steelers, among others, according to someone briefed on his itinerary.

Pro Day roundup: Cowboys met with RB Donnel Pumphrey - CBSSports.com
Could Pumphrey fill the change-of-pace role previously held by Lance Dunbar for the Cowboys?

As the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher (6,405 yards), as well as a Senior Bowl and combine standout (4.48 in the 40-yard dash), scouts already knew that the Aztecs’ Donnel Pumphrey was a special runner. During Thursday’s pro day, he focused more on his receiving skills, catching passes out of the backfield and as a returner.

The 5-foot-8, 176-pound Pumphrey looked comfortable catching the ball, extending to pluck a couple of tough passes, easing concerns about his ability to project as a true changeup back at the next level. Following Thursday’s workout Pumphrey shared that he has already met with representatives from the Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Chargers and Jets.

Cowboys Draft Targets: DT Isaac Rochell Says Dallas Showing Interest - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaac Rochell could be a Cowboys target in the draft.

Rochell isn’t expected to be drafted until the third day. He ranks as the #18 defensive tackle at Walter Football, and the #25 defensive end at CBS Sports. This indicates what many scouts are saying, he is somewhat of a tweener and can work at defensive end or defensive tackle, or possibly as a 3-4 defensive end for some teams.

Several scouting reports make him sound like a fit for how Rod Marinelli has used some players like Tyrone Crawford, Jack Crawford and David Irving. A defensive end on the strong side to play the run who can also slide inside on passing downs.

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Michael Irvin rips Texans for not trading for Tony Romo - Grey Papke, Larry Brown Sports
Irvin, who has never been shy about sharing his opinions with the world, let it rip on CBS Sports Radio recently.

"If I’m a fan of the Houston Texans, I’m protesting so much right now," Irvin said. "What are you doing? You mean to tell me you can throw $72 million at Brock Osweiler … but come back and say, ‘We’re not going to offer anything for Tony Romo’? Are you joking? Are you joking? Just say, ‘Hey, take a fifth-round draft pick. Take a fourth-round draft pick.’ Throw out something. Let everybody know that you’re trying."

Irvin rejected the explanation that Houston can just wait for the Cowboys to release Romo and give up nothing.

"We’re not talking about basic principles; we’re talking winning championships right now," Irvin said. "You’re not going to pick him up (in free agency). You’re going to (have to) fight for him. This is mind-boggling. I can’t imagine what the fans in Houston are thinking right now. I would be going crazy. You can’t come up with a fifth-round draft pick? It blows my mind."

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Why Cowboys' defense likely will continue to take the hits in free agency - David Moore, SportsDay
It may be obvious, but it bears repeating: The Dallas Cowboys are a team built around their offense, Moore explains.

The Cowboys' identity is clear. They win with offense. Keeping that core intact takes precedence even when the goal is to improve defensively.

You have seen it this offseason not only in the players the team has lost, but in the ones it has retained. Five of the six free agents the Cowboys have kept are on offense. Defensive lineman David Irving is the only exception.

You saw it in last year's draft. Despite the team's defensive shortcomings, the Cowboys spent their first-round pick on running back Ezekiel Elliott.

You saw it two years ago. Coming off a 12-4 season and desperately needing a defensive boost, five of the eight players the team lost in free agency were on defense. Three -- defensive end George Selvie and linebackers Bruce Carter and Justin Durant -- were starters.

5 players who should see increased opportunity in 2017 - Ryan Smith, Pro Football Focus
La'el Collins tops a list of players who should see more action in 2017.

With starting guard Ronald Leary joining the Denver Broncos as a free agent and the sudden retirement of right tackle Doug Free, the Cowboys now have two major holes to fill up front. Luckily for them, Collins is more than an adequate replacement at left guard, playing between two All-Pros in Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick.

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