It’s a time-honored tradition here on Blogging The Boys, dating all the way back to 2011, to build a draft board populated with players the Cowboys have invited for official pre-draft visits or have otherwise interacted with. By necessity, the result is a “Little Board,” as rabblerousr used to call it, because the board should only contain the 40-50 names the Cowboys had more than a fleeting interest in.
We know that the Cowboys traditionally whittle down the 450 or so draft-eligible players to 130 or so names that populate their final draft board. If we assume that they are legitimately interested in the players they’ve brought in for visits, or players that had a private workout with the Cowboys (and not just random players the Cowboys talked with on the sidelines of a pro day or a bowl game, or one of the 45 interviews allowed at the Combine), we could know about 30-40% of the players on the Cowboys’ board. That’s some good information to work with. In addition, by looking at which positions receive the most invitations, we can get a better idea about which positions the Dallas brain trust is honing in on - not that that’s a big secret this year.
On to this year’s little board: I have whittled down the names of potential prospects to 43, which you will find below. The trickiest part of this exercise is correctly slotting the players, and my guesses may well be quite a bit off from where the team has a given player slotted on its board. A note on the color codes:
- Players in blue are official pre-draft invitees (“Top30”)
- Players in green are all the known players the Cowboys have had a private workout with
- Players in yellow are “Dallas Day” participants that rank in the top 459 on the CBS Board
|OL||Charles Cross||Cam Jurgens||Joshua Ezeudu||Dawson Deaton|
|WR||Drake London||Alec Pierce||Erik Ezukanma||Charleston Rambo||Reggie Roberson|
|Treylon Burks||Danny Gray||Dee Anderson|
|TE||Jeremy Ruckert||Jelani Woods||Jalen Wydermyer||Grant Calcaterra||Armani Rogers|
|RB||Kennedy Brooks||Malik Davis|
|DE||DeMarvin Leal||Myjai Sanders||Michael Clemons||Isaiah Thomas||David Anenih|
|Sam Williams||Luiji Vilain|
|DT||Jordan Davis||Perrion Winfrey||Damion Daniels|
|LB||Devin Lloyd||Quay Walker||Kyron Johnson|
|CB||Akayleb Evans||Daron Bland|
A few attendant thoughts.
Offensive line is the obvious first-round target, to absolutely nobody’s surprise.
The challenge of drafting at the bottom of each round. There are 12 players listed here as potential first- or second-round picks. But drafting at the bottom of each round means only a few, if any, of the players listed in each round will still be available at the bottom of each round. Of the nine players listed as first-round prospects, seven or eight could be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. And of the three listed as second-rounders, all could be gone by pick No 60.
The Cowboys might be well advised to think of their picks not as the bottom picks in each round, but the top picks in the next round. Some might argue that this is just a glass half full versus half empty distinction, but it does change the discussion from having limited options at the bottom of the each round to having almost unlimited options at the top of the next round.
The color scheme: Typically, the the Cowboys spend most of their Top 30 visits on day one and day two prospects (marked in blue). They then supplement those premium prospects with later round options they worked out privately (green), and then bring in a lot of potential college free agents for Dallas Day (yellow).
But not this year. Half of their Top 30 visits were with Day Three or free agent prospects with a staggering eight prospects projected as free agent signings after the draft. That feels like a questionable allocation of those scarce Top 30 visits, especially considering the relative lack of Top 30 players in the middle rounds. One can only hope that this does not signal a repeat of the 2009 “special teams” draft.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, here’s a mock based entirely on players from the little board above.
1.24 - Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
2.56 - DeMarvin Leal, DE, Texas A&M
3.88 - Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
4.129 - Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
5.155 - Joshua Ezeudu, OT, North Carolina
5.167 - Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
5.176 - Charleston Rambo, WR, Miamai (Fla.)
5.178 - Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas
6.193 - Daron Bland, CB, Fresno State
If you want to create your own draft board, create your mock draft, or simply want to argue where a prospect should be ranked, here are all the prospects listed above as well as where they rank on three different draft board: CBS (459 prospects), NFL.com (425), and PFF (352).
|2022 Prospects with documented Cowboys interest|
|8||5||17||Charles Cross||OT||Miss. State||Top30|
|21||13||26||Bernhard Raimann||OT||Central Michigan||Top30|
|27||42||16||Kenyon Green||OL||Texas A&M||Top30|
|29||21||18||Chris Olave||WR||Ohio State||Top30|
|32||32||38||Zion Johnson||OG||Boston College||Top30|
|64||59||78||DeMarvin Leal||DT||Texas A&M||Top30|
|68||131||45||Sam Williams||DE||Ole Miss||Top30|
|75||120||67||Jeremy Ruckert||TE||Ohio State||Top30|
|103||175||217||Akayleb Evans||CB||Missouri||Dallas Day|
|137||75||109||Alec Pierce||WR||Cincinnati||Private WO|
|145||209||107||Michael Clemons||DE||Texas A&M||Top30|
|163||316||128||Joshua Ezeudu||OT||North Carolina||Top30|
|170||237||133||Kennedy Brooks||RB||Oklahoma||Private WO|
|172||164||148||Isaiah Thomas||DE||Oklahoma||Private WO|
|180||126||215||Jalen Wydermyer||TE||Texas A&M||Top30|
|184||317||166||Erik Ezukanma||WR||Texas Tech||Dallas Day|
|190||269||339||Charleston Rambo||WR||Miami (Fla.)||Dallas Day|
|222||154||292||Marquese Bell||S||Florida A&M||Top30|
|254||197||157||Danny Gray||WR||SMU||Dallas Day|
|267||116||221||Grant Calcaterra||TE||SMU||Dallas Day|
|302||310||271||Dawson Deaton||OC||Texas Tech||Top30|
|309||- -||- -||Damion Daniels||DL||Nebraska||Dallas Day|
|325||182||247||Reggie Roberson||WR||SMU||Dallas Day|
|331||- -||275||Armani Rogers||TE||UNLV||Private WO|
|367||- -||- -||David Anenih||DE||Houston||Top30|
|417||- -||- -||Daron Bland||CB||Fresno State||Top30|
|433||- -||- -||Terry Wilson||QB||New Mexico||Private WO|
|- -||- -||241||Luiji Vilain||DE||Wake Forest||Top30|
|- -||- -||268||James Houston||LB||Jackson State||Top30|
|- -||- -||310||Malik Davis||RB||Florida||Top30|
|- -||- -||330||Dee Anderson||WR||Alabama A&M||Dallas Day|
|- -||- -||- -||Devin Harper||LB||Oklahoma State||Top30|