We all know how important the pre-draft visitors are for the Dallas Cowboys in terms of who they actually pick once the draft rolls around. It’s been well-documented that if a player is one of the 30 pre-draft visitors then you have to strongly consider him for the Cowboys. We’ve been tracking them over the past few weeks, and we now have the 26th member of the 30. Defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd
Fort Hays State DT Nathan Shepherd has an official visit scheduled with the #Cowboys for next Tuesday. The Cowboys have worked Nathan out at school, met with him at the Senior Bowl, and will now be bringing him in as a pre-draft visitor.#DallasCowboys #NFLDraft #NFL pic.twitter.com/vQ0C6WFTZZ— Connor (@ConnorNFLDraft) April 10, 2018
Not only is he getting an official visit, but the Cowboys have been paying attention to him for a while as noted by meetings at the Senior Bowl and a private workout. This should definitely put him on your draft radar.
Earlier today, Mel Kiper mocked Shepherd to the Cowboys in the third round. I was a little skeptical of the choice, at the time I didn’t know he was going to be a pre-draft visitor. Kiper also mentioned him as a 3-tech, which again is something that was a warning because the Cowboys seem to be looking at 1-techs with Da’Ron Payne and Vita Vea among their pre-draft visits. My contention is the Cowboys defense was too soft in the middle last year allowing teams to run on them in that area, which is easy money for an opposing offense. Dallas had too many 3-tech and no solid 1-tech.
Conversely, though, Taven Bryan is a pre-draft visitor, and his body-type and play style seem to fit the 3-tech mold. So what exactly is Shepherd? Bryan Broaddus said he was graded as a 3-tech.
Shepherd is 6’5” and weighs 315 pounds so he certainly has the size of a 1-tech, but his body-type and athletic attributes may make him more suited for the quicker, more aggressive 3-tech spot. Some have even suggested he would make a great end in a 3-4 defense.
Draft guru Mike Mayock said during the NFL Network telecast that his speed for his size will get him looked at, but where he is drafted will depend “on if teams think he can rush the passer from different positions along the line.”
Looked at as an inside lineman for a 4-3, I believe the best fit might be as a 3-4 five-tech where he can stop the run first, and then rush the passer as a secondary role.
Cowboys observer Marcus Mosher likes him as a 1-tech.
Nathan Shepherd is one impressive 1T. pic.twitter.com/6UegNEpYn7— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) March 5, 2018
We’ll have to see where he ends up if the Cowboys do draft him. They could play him at the 1-tech given his size, and Stephen Jones made it clear they are looking for a 1-tech with 3-tech traits. Maybe what Broaddus says above, they graded him as a 3-tech, means they are doing that to see which 1-tech they want in the end.