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What the current Cowboys pre-draft visitors say about their potential draft strategy

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Does the current list of visitors provide any clues?

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The 2019 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away and before we know it, the Dallas Cowboys will be on the clock. Who will they take with that all important 58th overall pick? What positions will they target with their premium draft resources? Ultimately it’s going to be a surprise, but sometimes the names we hear aren’t that shocking. As we like to do over here at Blogging The Boys, there are some clues the team gives us and we do our best CSI’ing to put it all together. One of those clues is official pre-draft visits.

The list of pre-draft visitors is halfway complete as the team does their due diligence in evaluating players from this draft. Here are the players the team currently has scheduled for pre-draft visits.

Is there anything this list of players can tell us about the Cowboys approach to the upcoming draft? Are there any clues or patterns we can latch on to? Of course, this is just pure speculation, but here are some things that could happen based on arrangement of players coming in for visits.

They could targeting a safety with pick 58

The Cowboys only have three safeties on this list so far and all of them are players that should come off the board somewhere in the second round - Taylor Rapp (Washington), Johnathan Abram (Mississippi State) and Juan Thornhill (Virginia). None of these guys are making it to pick 90. In fact, all of them could be gone by pick 58, but the team appears to be giving serious consideration to this range of talent at the safety position. It’s a short list, but maybe they’re hoping one of these guys will fall.

Last year, the team only had three linebackers in for pre-draft visits - Leighton Vander Esh, Rashaan Evans, and Darius Leonard. As it turns out, two of them (Vander Esch and Leonard) are currently viewed as the top two linebackers from the draft despite neither of them being one of the top two selected. And Evans himself was drafted 22nd overall by the Tennessee Titans.

There are some really appealing safeties that could go right around this area of the draft and the Cowboys already have shown interest in a few of them.

They are hoping one of the top receivers drop to 90

There are going to be some talented wide receivers selected on Day 2 of the draft. The list is long. So far the Cowboys have visits lined up with Deebo Samuel, Emanuel Hall, and Mecole Hardman. A couple of these receivers could come off the board right around when the Cowboys pick in the second round, but that seems a little early, especially if there is other talent available that has fallen to them. It’s not out of the question that they go receiver at 58, but it would take a special game-changing player to make me pull the trigger on a receiver this early.

Despite some good talent being invited for visits, I sense they could be looking for value here.

Last year, a lot of the offensive linemen the team met with were all projected to go in the late-first-round area of the draft. James Daniel (official visit), Kolton Miller (official visit), Will Hernandez (private workout), and Connor Williams (Dallas Day) all seemed a little early for their first-round pick, but would be steals in round two. As it turned out, only Miller (15th overall) was drafted in the first round and the Hernandez (34th) and Daniel (39th) were taken early on Day 2. The Cowboys just remained calm and were still able to grab a starting offensive lineman in Williams at pick 50.

The team may try to pull off something similar here at wide receiver. Samuel, Hall, and Hardman aren’t feature-weapon receivers. They each have a specified skill set to complement the other receivers on the team. At the same time, all three of them are dangerous in space and the Cowboys love adding receivers who are dangerous after the catch.

David Helman from the Mothership is indeed smart and charming, but he might be a round early in where the team goes after a wide receiver. The team has already used it’s first-round pick on a receiver when they traded for Amari Cooper and if they plan on using their second-round pick as well, it better be for a talent who has WR1 upside.

The Cowboys had a lot of wide receivers in for official visits last year and they ranged all over the place. They passed up on receivers in both rounds one and two because there was better talent available. It worked out because landing Michael Gallup with the 81st overall pick was super great value.

Prepare yourself for a fourth-round defensive tackle

Outside of safety, defensive tackle is the one position the team could use a young talent to insert into their starting lineup. This year’s draft class offers a deep selection of strong interior defenders to where it’s not unreasonable to think one of them lingers around at pick 58.

But the Cowboys just don’t like taking defensive tackles early in the draft. Even when Sharrif Floyd (who they had high on their board) was available at pick 18 in 2013, the Cowboys panicked. The war room wasn’t sure what to do and ultimately traded back in the draft rather that take, what looked like at the time, a steal in Floyd. Of course, that worked out okay for Dallas as they “reached” for that Travis Frederick fella.

While I’m not giving up hope that a player like Jerry Tillery slides to 58 and the Cowboys pounce, a more realistic scenario is that the Cowboys just sit back and wait until later in the draft to find a defensive tackle. The players they have scheduled visits for - Gerald Willis (Miami), Kingsley Keke (Texas A&M), and Trystan Hill (Central Florida) are players that might be available on Day 3 of the draft.

Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, and recently added Christian Covington are all around for one more season so the team isn’t pushed in a corner of having to draft a defensive tackle early. It would be nice to upgrade the position, but it doesn’t appear than any of the top talents are on their radar...at least not yet.


Is there anything this list of players tells you about a potential strategy the Cowboys might have in the upcoming draft? Any guesses?