As always, we’re tracking pre-draft visits for the Cowboys. They are crumbs along the path to figuring out their first-round pick in the draft. Once we get the list of the full 30 visits, we’ll have a grouping that will almost certainly contain the Cowboys first pick.
Since 2007, all but one 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 Dallas prior to the draft. But the Cowboys got right back on track when they invited Travis Frederick (‘13), Zack Martin (‘14), Byron Jones (‘15), Ezekiel Elliott (‘16), and Taco Charlton (‘17) for an official visit.
So far, this is what we have.
[Table updated 4/3]
|Player||Position||School||Proj. Round||Source||Draft Scout Ranking|
|Official pre-draft visit in Dallas|
|OL||James Daniels||C||Iowa||1||Rob Howe||18|
|Will Hernandez||OG||UTEP||1||Bobby Belt||23|
|Connor Williams||OT||Texas||1||David Helman||24|
|Kolton Miller||G/T||UCLA||1-2||James Layton||31|
|Desmond Harrison||OT||West Georgia||6-7||Josh Norris||228|
|WR||Calvin Ridley||WR||Alabama||1||Bobby Belt||16|
|D.J. Moore||WR||Maryland||1-2||Neal Dalal||29|
|Christian Kirk||WR||Texas A&M||1-2||Bobby Belt||32|
|James Washington||WR||Oklahoma State||2-3||Todd Archer||70|
|Antonio Callaway||WR||Florida||4||Josh Norris||136|
|Daurice Fountain||WR||Northern Iowa||5-6||ConnorNFLDraft||196|
|DL||Vita Vea||DT||Washington||1||Aaron Wilson||10|
|Da'Ron Payne||DT||Alabama||1||Albert Breer||14|
|Harold Landry||DE||Boston College||1||Albert Breer||19|
|Taven Bryan||DT||Florida||1||Albert Breer||25|
|LB||Leighton Vander Esch||LB||Boise St||1||Tony Pauline||22|
|Rashaan Evans||LB||Alabama||1-2||Bobby Belt||36|
|Darius Leonard||LB||South Carolina State||5||Tony Pauline||169|
|Others||Nyheim Hines||RB||NC State||3||The Wolfpacker||87|
|Deshon Elliott||SS||Texas||4-5||Jared Stager||145|
That’s 14 names so we’re almost half way there. What can we learn?
Four of the 14 are wide receivers. This follows the theme of the offseason - the Cowboys want to almost completely overhaul that unit this year. They’ve added two players in free agency, Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, and they are spending a whole lot of time talking to top prospects. We have three potential first-rounders in the pre-draft list, and as RJ Ochoa let us know, Jason Garrett visited Courtland Sutton personally at his pro day. It seems like no matter what the situation is with Dez Bryant, the Cowboys are going to stock up on receiver talent and are likely going to take a player at that position early in the draft, if not the first round. Some of the veterans like Terrance Williams or Cole Beasley could be in danger.
We also have three linebackers among the visits including two potential first-round picks in Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch. That puts linebacker second to wide receiver among the partial list, unless you throw players into a generic offensive line bucket.
Four offensive linemen make the list, with some pure guards, some combo players and some tackles. The Cowboys have said they are trying to get the best five players on the field along the line. We know three of them in Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. The fourth will be La’el Collins, but will it be at right tackle or at left guard? Based on the names they are inviting and the fact they are expected to go high in the draft, it looks like Dallas could be serious about not knowing which direction they want to take with Collins yet.
If they like the guards come draft day, they can keep him outside and let Cam Fleming be the swing tackle. If they like the tackles, they could kick Collins inside and let a rookie draft pick battle Fleming for the right tackle position. Remember, Fleming is only on a one-year deal so they could be using him as insurance for a new rookie tackle. [Corrections: Edited to say Fleming, not Collins, is on a one-year deal. My mistake in the original.]
If you’re a betting person at this point, the Cowboys first-round pick will be a wide receiver, a linebacker or an offensive lineman. Don’t bet yet, though, we still have 16 more names to find out about before we get any real clarity.
LOCAL PROSPECTS INVITED FOR “DALLAS DAY”
|Draft Scout Rank||Name||POS||College||Proj. Rd.||Height||Weight||Source|
|161||Trey Quinn||WR||SMU||5||5-11||203||Todd Archer|
|--||Tejan Koroma||OC||BYU||FA||6-0||290||Dane Brugler|
|2017 UDFA||Matt Davis||QB||SMU||--||6-0||212||Jon Machota|
|2017 UDFA||Dane Evans||QB||Tulsa||--||6-1||210||Jon Machota|
|2017 UDFA||Jerod Evans||QB||Virginia Tech||--||6-3||238||Jon Machota|
|2017 UDFA||Skyler Howard||QB||West Virginia||--||6-0||207||Jon Machota|
|2017 UDFA||Seth Russell||QB||Baylor||--||6-3||220||Jon Machota|