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Cowboys news: DE Kony Ealy to visit the Star; more names added to Top 30 pre-draft visitor list.

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Da'Ron Payne, Harold Landry, and Taven Bryan are the latest names added to the pre-draft visitor list.

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Kansas City Chiefs v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys: Source: Free agent DE Kony Ealy set to visit Dallas Cowboys - David Moore, SportsDay
The former Panther and Jet has been a Cowboys’ target in the past and is again; Moore has the details.

Ealy could arrive in Dallas as early as Monday evening and is scheduled to meet with the club no later than Tuesday, a source said. If the two sides reach an agreement, the defensive end would be the sixth player the Cowboys have added since the start of free agency.

The Cowboys have expressed an interest in Ealy since he came out of Missouri in the 2014 draft. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the time the club would have taken Ealy at No. 47 in the second round if it had stayed put.

But the Cowboys didn't stay put. The club packaged its second (No. 47) and third round (No. 78) pick to move to No. 34 and select defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

Arizona Cardinals Ink Brice Butler To Two-Year Deal - Tyler Nickel, Revenge of the Birds
It was assumed Brice Butler's Cowboy tenure would end this off-season and apparently he'll be a Cardinal in 2018.

Butler had his best season as a pro in 2017, hauling in 15 receptions for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns. Now in his sixth season, Butler figures to come in and compete for one of the top receiver positions, perhaps filling a hole that Jaron Brown once filled before he left this offseason.

At 6’3” and 220 pounds, Butler is another big receiver for the Cardinals to try and mold into a breakout player. Keep an eye out for the team to possibly pick up more wide receiver help in free agency and/or the NFL Draft at the end of the month.

Pre-draft visit list is hint to top pick - Clarence E. Hill, Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Veteran BTBers are well aware to pay close attention to who the Cowboys bring in for pre-draft visits. Hill gives us his insights.

If you want to know the Dallas Cowboys’ intentions in the 2018 NFL Draft, peruse their list of pre-draft visits.

It has always been a telling sign for the Cowboys, who will host 30 pre-draft national visitors Monday through Thursday and then hold Dallas Day on Friday.

All but one of the team’s first-round picks since 2007 have been brought in for a pre-draft visit.

Here's BTBs full list of all visitors known so far:

Player Position School Proj. Round Source Draft Scout Ranking
Official pre-draft visit in Dallas
OL James Daniels C Iowa 1 Rob Howe 18
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

Charlton Looking To Build Off Last 5 Games of Rookie Year - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
Eatman continues the off-season evaluations of current Cowboys, this time looking at Taco Charlotn, his strengths, weaknesses and what's next.

For Charlton, he could probably stand to get a little stronger, which is usually the case for all players moving from their first to second season. Charlton has the build to add a few more pounds and not lose his athleticism. Depending on what happens with the rest of free agency, which includes a visit on Tuesday with veteran end Kony Ealy, and then the draft, Charlton will still be right at the top of the rotation and should have a chance to start.

Will Cowboys keep investing where they’ve spent the most? – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
Over at The Athletic (and behind a pay wall) Sturm digs deep into the offensive line situation. Among his thoughts is a criticism of the team's current right tackle.

On to right tackle. This issue, of course, was forced with the unexpected retirement of Doug Free, but the Cowboys were lucky to have someone like La'el Collins in reserve. I was a very big admirer of Collins out of LSU and had him ranked #12 overall in that draft. I have always appreciated his work. The Cowboys placed him at right tackle to start 2017, and as someone who had never done it much before – primarily a left tackle at LSU and a left guard with Dallas, it showed. I plan on a video breakdown of his season soon, but in short, he really had some issues in pass protection and technique. The five sacks and three holds hurt, but very few players were credited with allowing more hurries and hits. He certainly had an issue with speed around the edge. Collins had an incredibly difficult day in Denver and while there were some solid games along the way, he certainly did not pass with flying colors – and the Cowboys are paying him as a top-five right tackle.

Cowboys need second year players to have breakout seasons - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer looks into his crystal ball to see where the Cowboys might get the most improvement from last year's rookie class.

Awuzie battled hamstring injuries for most of the season, playing just 10 games. At one point, the Cowboys were ready to give him regular snaps at safety, but he reinjured the hamstring and was lost for a few weeks. He finished his rookie season with 25 tackles, one interception and seven pass deflections.

Lewis missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury but played in 15 games. He finished with 54 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception and 11 pass deflections. Woods had 42 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception and six pass deflections.

As the Cowboys approach 2018, the roles could move around a little. Awuzie has a good shot to start as one of the outside cornerbacks. Lewis could move to the slot, with Byron Jones moving from safety, though the Cowboys potentially could keep Jones in a slot role. Woods will get a look next to Jeff Heath at safety.

Dallas Cowboys' 2018 NFL draft needs, prospect fits - Lindsay H. Jones, USA Today
Jones looks at three areas the Cowboys are likely to target in the upcoming draft, including linebacker.

Injuries have tested the Cowboys’ depth at linebacker in recent years. With Anthony Hitchens off to the Chiefs and Sean Lee approaching the tail end of his career as he turns 32 in July, the position is the biggest need on the Dallas defense, even though the unit might look to 2016 second-round pick Jaylon Smith to take on a larger role.

Advice: The Cowboys could make a big swing and move up in the first round for Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, who likely won’t be available when Dallas is scheduled to pick at No. 19. He’s the type of athletic, versatile linebacker the Cowboys need.

Possible Pick: Awuzie’s Ex-Teammate Is A Top CB Prospect In His Own Right - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com
Phillips continues the Mothership's draft prospect series, this time looking at potential day one cornerback Isaiah Oliver.

Most draft observers believe Oliver is a starting-caliber cornerback prospect who could go off the board in the late first or early second round. Oliver comes from a football family (his father Muhammad played four seasons in the NFL) and he was highly productive at Colorado alongside several future pro defensive backs, including the Cowboys’ 2017 second-round pick Chidobe Awuzie. Oliver’s outstanding speed (he was a two-time all-conference decathlete in college) and long arms (reportedly close to a seven-foot wingspan) make him an ideal press corner prospect.

FOX now wants Joe Buck, Troy Aikman to handle Thursday nights – Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk
Could Troy Aikman follow Tony Romo into the Thursday night broadcast booth? Fox might make it happen.

It’s not clear yet whether Buck and Aikman will accept that offer. They’ll obviously want more money for more work, and they might object to the schedule. Buck, in particular, already has a busy schedule in the fall because he handles baseball postseason games for FOX. The network might need to give the pair some Sundays off to avoid burning them out.

FOX made a major five-year investment in Thursday nights and wants to find the right broadcast team. Other potential analysts whose names have surfaced include the recently retired Joe Thomas and Carson Palmer.

It's official: This is the worst time in history to be a fan of North Texas' 4 major-sport franchises - Brad Townsend, SportsDay
Finally, the Cowboys represent the city of Dallas' best hope to successfully emerge from the city's longest post-season drought since becoming a 4-sport city in 1993.

Bleak though it was for fans, at least 2017 included a brief hurrah. As a result of their 13-3 finish in the 2016 regular season, the Cowboys on Jan. 15, 2017, hosted the Packers in a divisional playoff game at AT&T Stadium.

Green Bay's 34-31 victory that evening not only spoiled the Cowboys' season, but added a resounding splat to a cruel eight-month stretch for North Texas pro sports fans in which the Rangers, Stars, Cowboys and FC Dallas entered the playoffs as No. 1 seeds and failed to make it to their respective conference finals.

Who among us would have imagined that Packers kicker Mason Crosby's game-winning 51-yard field goal, set up by Aaron Rodgers' improbable 36-yard completion to Jared Cook on third-and-20 with three seconds left, would foreshadow what has happened since?

The Stars' and Mavericks' failures this season assure that North Texas' major-sport playoff drought will stretch to at least 19 months, to October of this year. And that would require that the Rangers be the team that breaks the drought. Any realistic fan can deduce that the Cowboys are DFW's best next major-sport hope to make the playoffs.