The correlation of Dallas draftees to pre-draft visits are so strong that many of us don’t spend a lot of time digging too deep into other players. After all, that pool is quite large. From this list of invites, we start to fine tune our mocks and put our best foot forward as we attempt to guess the Cowboys selection. But what about that other foot? Here are four prospects (one in each of the first four rounds) that didn’t get an invite to Frisco, but who could still hear their name called when the Cowboys make their selection.
Safety, Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
There is a reason that early year mocks are preposterous. All they do is get fans hyped about a player the Cowboys won’t even sniff around come draft day. The Wolverine star has created a lot of hype over the last couple seasons with his impressive highlight reel when he has the ball in his hands. The only problem is, those weren’t instances when he was playing defense, he only had two forced turnovers his entire college career.
As explosive as Peppers is, his fundamentals at the safety position need refining. He can take bad angles in the running game and is often times out of control. It’s like if you were playing pin the tail on the donkey at a child’s birthday party and blindfolded the fastest kid, spun him around persistently, and then let him run amok. That’s not going to end well for anyone.
Peppers upside is intriguing, he’s a tremendous athlete, by all accounts he’s a very smart player, and he can create disruption with his speed and instincts. Plus, he’s an absolute stud as a punt/kick returner. But he’s a risk and the Cowboys don’t subscribe to that type of thinking in the all important first round. This is bad news for anyone expecting to hear his name next week. I’m not trying to be salty, but if you’re looking for someone to spice things up for the Cowboys on defense, look for someone other than Peppers.
Chances of Peppers being chosen by Dallas: Slim, to none.
Defensive End, Jordan Willis, Kansas State
Every year many fans get excited about the SPARQ champions at each position. And this year, that title for defensive ends goes to Willis. He actually destroys any metric that involves using his legs. Check it out:
- 40-yard dash = 98 percentile
- 3-cone drill = 95 percentile
- Vertical jump = 95 percentile
- Broad jump = 93 percentile
Those kind of grades will put you on the athletic honor roll.
So, the question many Cowboys fans might have is - why didn’t Willis get an invite? Maybe Willis’ ranking makes him a reach at 28, but not someone who is expected to be there at 60? Maybe the Cowboys are keeping their interest in him under wraps in hopes he slides in the second round. Or, maybe they don’t view him as big of an asset as many of us fans do. Willis is not a strong get-off guy and will try to run around his blocker versus square off and beat him. He gets so focused on rushing the quarterback that he’ll get tunnel vision and loose sight of the ball.
Chances of Willis being drafted by Dallas: Fair. If the Cowboy don’t draft an edge rusher in round one, Willis and Ohio’s Tarell Basham are the best second round prospects who still might be available at pick 60.
Safety, Desmond King, Iowa
If enormous SPARQ scores are something you hang your hat one, then you’re probably big fans of corners like Kevin King, Fabian Moreau, and Chidobwe Awuzie. And that’s fine. Everyone wants a great athlete. But if production is your cup of tea, then the Hawkeye corner/safety could be your man. King grades out with the fourth most productive points per game based on the top 20 safeties (ranked by CBS). This is largely in part by his huge interception totals (11), ranking him top from this list and passes broken up (20), ranking him second behind only Tedric Thompson from Colorado. Despite not being a very good athlete himself, Thompson did receive an invite from Dallas so he’s on their radar. King doesn’t have great speed, but he’s got excellent quickness (95 percentile in the 3-cone drill).
While it may not be a good idea to draft a non-athletic corner, it is believed he could make a transition to safety and that could brighten his career. If he’s still around in the third round, the Cowboys would be getting a good football player.
Chances of Dallas drafting him: Not likely. This is one of those drafts that could have a really intriguing player still on the board in round three. King is just one of many names that could be called, but it speaks to the depth of talent still lingering at the cornerback position.
Cornerback, Rasul Douglas, West Virginia
The Mountaineers cornerback has become my favorite day three pet cat. Similar to Desmond King, Douglas produces. He sits right there (see OCC’s great analysis) next to Sidney Jones and Cordrea Tankersley, which are two players I love.
He forced eight interceptions last year and these aren’t just your every day poor throws from the quarterback. Rasul will go out there and take it from you.
Douglas is a long, physical defender that will make plays on the ball. Speedy receivers will give him fits, but his build makes makes this potential prospect a good investment in the fourth round.
The ball. The ball. The ball.
Chances of Dallas drafting Douglas: Very remote. Douglas’ tape will likely cause him to be over-drafted where some team goes a round hot on him. That doesn’t bode well for him making it to pick 133. However, if he does, I know one fan who will have his fingers crossed that his name is called.
Which uninvited players intrigue you the most?