The NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana, began this week at the home of the Colts. The annual event gives collegiate prospects an opportunity to showcase their skill-set, weigh in and find their true measurables, and interview with numerous teams. Every year, scouts, GMs, and media travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to scout the draft’s top prospects, as well as discover some potential hidden gems.
This year, the Cowboys have a top-20 pick after a mediocre 9-7 campaign. This selection gives the Cowboys a variety of different options in April: do the Cowboys use this pick and another one of their ten picks to move up for a prospect like a Derwin James, Roquan Smith, or Calvin Ridley? Maybe Dallas finds more value in trading back and adding a third top-50 selection. Or, the Cowboys stay put and get their guy at 19, who knows?
It’s only March, but it appears as if the Cowboys won’t get a chance to select James, Smith, or Ridley without moving up. But who are some potential targets if Dallas remains at 19?
Vita Vea, Washington Huskies
Vita Vea has quickly become a big favorite among Cowboys fans closely following the draft process. Vea starred for a talented defense during his time in Seattle and is a sure lock to hear his name called in the first-round come April. There is even a possibilty he is off the board before Dallas is scheduled to make their selection; however, our own Dave Halprin noted that the nose tackle is being linked more and more to the Cowboys heading into the 2018 NFL Combine.
Many fans have been wanting the front office to add a big nose tackle to the middle of the defense, but Stephen Jones recently said that he doesn’t see the Cowboys selecting a “pure” 1-tech.
“If you’re talking about a pure nose, I don’t see that changing for us,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said on Tuesday from the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I think we just feel like in Rod’s system that we can get the job done without a big, first-round nose, if that’s all he really is. Now, some of these guys might be more than a nose than you think. They could have some under tackle to them and you’re certainly looking at them if that’s the case. Obviously that under tackle position is a big one for us.”
He leaves the door open for tackles that are able to play the 3-tech too, though — which happens to keep the Vea-to-Cowboys scenario alive, as the Washington defender is capable of playing that position as well. The big defensive tackle has major boom-or-bust potential, as he flashes moments of being the back interior defensive lineman in the drive, but also took some plays off here and there.
If available at 19, the Cowboys should run to the table with Vea’s name in hand. The monstrous lineman is among the strongest players in this draft class,
When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, you get Vita Vea. @Andy_Staples on the Washington DL poised to put on a show at the combine and shoot up draft boards.https://t.co/9IFBySfzPP pic.twitter.com/kXZ0TUJFe7— The MMQB (@theMMQB) March 1, 2018
Isaiah Wynn, Georgia Bulldogs
The Cowboys could also look to add to the other side of the trenches, despite already featuring one of the league’s top units. One of the rising offensive lineman in this draft class is Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn.
Poor Ronnie Harrison stood no chance against Isaiah Wynn pic.twitter.com/dqZCmz2ZPA— John Owning (@JohnOwning) February 1, 2018
Wynn, 6-foot-2 and 313 pounds, is regarded as one of the draft’s two or three top guard prospects — along with Quinton Nelson from the Notre Dame Irish and Will Hernandez from UTEP. While he’s not on Nelson’s level, Wynn is a first-round quality prospect that should definitely be in the mix for the Cowboys’ first selection this April. The Georgia guard measured in with a 78 7/8” wingspan, 33 3/8” arms, and 8 4/8” hands at the combine.
Apart of the SEC Champions and the national runner up’s, Wynn proved to be one of the most talented offensive lineman in the country — being named a second team All-American and first team all-conference. He is a solid run blocker and is also capable of pass protecting and picking up blitzes.
#6 (last one) Isaiah Wynn (LT-77) picking up a Minkah Fitzpatrick blitz and folding him pic.twitter.com/a0h76drhPZ— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) March 1, 2018
*Checks* Yep, Isaiah Wynn is still a good player. Mugs No. 41 here. Playing with a proper base allows him to generate force while remaining balanced, giving him the ability to strain and drive the defender back. pic.twitter.com/7dkLMyEr2u— John Owning (@JohnOwning) February 24, 2018
What’s more, the talented offensive lineman prospect met with the Cowboys (as well as a handful of other franchises) in Indianapolis. It may not mean much, but perhaps the Cowboys are thinking about Wynn on day one. We’ll see.
Georgie guard Isaiah Wynn has met with the Cowboys. Said he has studied their offensive line. “They’re just nasty. They all work together as one unit. They all get the job done.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) March 1, 2018
Harold Landry, Boston College Eagles
Here is a name that hasn’t really been on the radar for most Cowboys fans recently; however, Harold Landry out of Boston College is an intriguing name to keep an eye on.
Landry, 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, has gone a little under the radar, but the pass rusher has a very high ceiling with the potential to develop into a stud on the NFL level. He burst onto the scene in a big way in 2016, recording 50 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, and 16.5 sacks in 12 games. Landry also intercepted a pass and forced seven fumbles in his junior season just for good measure.
Harold Landry from BC has picked up a lot of buzz with some analysts. Great play here getting under the tackle and picking up a strip sack. He has shown a lot of good in tape and also areas he needs to improve on. I have him as my #2 right now pic.twitter.com/4B2Efq50OE— Packers Film Room (@PTTF_ChalkTalk) March 1, 2018
We profiled the pass-rushing freak back in December:
Landry appears to be a solid all-around prospect that has the potential of becoming the NFL’s next dangerous edge rusher. The Tank has been a monster all season long, but wouldn’t it be nice to pair another pass rusher on the opposite side? Landry seems to be a player more than capable enough to make an impact immediately on the next level.
The Athletic’s Kevin Turner wrote on Landry a little more recently (subscription):
Overall, I have a late 1st/early 2nd round grade on Landry. I think he’s the second-best pass-rusher in the draft and given the premium of that position, it’s not out of this world to think that he’s off the board by the time the Cowboys pick at 19. While fairly instinctual, Landry is still a developing player and will need to really hone in on his craft in terms of adding some pass rush moves. He has some really outstanding traits, and this draft isn’t exactly overflowing with incredible pass rushers, so I do expect him to go in the Top 20.
Harold Landry is a name that Cowboys fans need to be familiar with. If players such as Derwin James and Calvin Ridley are off the board, it would not be a bad idea to add a pass rusher that recorded 25 career sacks and 48 career tackles for a loss.
AFC Scout “I still think people are sleeping on Harold Landry a bit. He had a bum ankle this year and missed games. His dip and speed rush is best in this class. Yeah I can get a beer this week”— Jared Tokarz (@NFLDraftInsider) February 25, 2018
(Just want to let you know I drink beer)
Who do you like at 19, BTB?