The “Underwear Olympics”, better known as the NFL Scouting Combine, is set to kick off Sunday, February 26 and runs through Monday, March 6. This is the social gathering event of the offseason where potential NFL hopefuls will be competing in several events and go through medicals to hopefully boost their draft stock, and in so doing, convince an organization to spend one of their much coveted draft picks on them.
In the grander scheme of things, the combine is generally a tool to confirm what scouts and evaluators have seen from a certain prospect on film. Make no mistake though, it is a useful tool, and one that can have a significant impact on a prospects draft stock one way or another.
Today, we’re going to attempt to predict who the Dallas Cowboys may target with each one of their projected nine draft picks this year. We should have a much better understanding of what players and positions the Cowboys could be targeting this year after the combine by who they meet with at the event, but until then we will just have to do our best guesstimating.
1.26 - OG/C Steve Avila, TCU
Steve Avila isn’t a name that has been associated with the Dallas Cowboys first-round pick very much so far in the early portions of the offseason, but could start gaining ground the closer we draw to the NFL draft. He’s currently slotted at No. 41 in Dane Brugler’s Top 100 rankings, so ideally Dallas would land him in a trade down scenario. However, considering his position flex and plug-and-play ability, he could easily slide into the latter part of round one.
Per Dane Brugler:
The unsung hero of a TCU squad that advanced to the national championship, Steve Avila is a wide-bodied blocker and pulls rushers into his tractor beam with his ability to engulf at the point of attack. He needs added consistency to access his explosive power, but he has a strong base and legitimate position flexibility at guard or center.
Per .@_RyanFowler_ the #Cowboys have already met w/ TCU G Steve Avila, 1 of the drafts best iOL.— Shane Carter (@ShaneCarterTx) February 16, 2023
The All-American made starts at C, G & OT in his career. 1 of the best run/pass blockers in his class & is NASTY when he get his hands on you #CowboysNation pic.twitter.com/YuGUKqsBPU
2.58 - WR Tyler Scott, Cincinnati
Still somehow flying somewhat under the radar, Tyler Scott (5’11”, 185) is a WR prospect who is going to start to see his draft stock start to soar after blowing up the combine. He reportedly posted a 4.29-second 40-yard dash, a 40.5-inch vertical and an 11-foot broad jump in Cincinnati’s testing last offseason. Those numbers stand up to what he shows on tape and would no doubt add a much-needed explosive element Dallas’ passing game.
Per Dane Brugler:
It feels like there is a prospect compared to Tyler Lockett every draft cycle, but Tyler Scott has the legitimate upside to be a similar player in the NFL. A high school running back and track stud, Scott has outstanding speed and short-area suddenness to create his own separation. He is one of “my guys” in this year’s draft class.
Looking for an underrated WR prospect?#Cincinnati WR Tyler Scott is one of my favorites in the class. A legit day 2 prospect with Tyler Lockett upside in the NFL.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 12, 2023
Elite speed, gear change and short-area suddenness. pic.twitter.com/dwiUca8fIw
3.90 - CB Darius Rush, South Carolina
Darius Rush’s name has been abuzz ever since the Senior Bowl where he put on a show in front of everyone in attendance. He measured in a half-inch shy of 6’2” and 196 pounds with 32 3⁄4 inch arms and an impressive 79 3⁄4 inch wingspan. He also proved to be the fastest player in attendance clocking in at 21.65 mph on the GPS. He fits all the criteria Dan Quinn looks for in an outside CB and could be the solution opposite Trevon Diggs for the foreseeable future.
Here’s a good compilation of CB Darius Rush from the Senior Bowl.— Blake Jewell (@BlakeJewellNFL) February 14, 2023
Cam Taylor-Britt was my “guy” last year. Think this year it’s Darius Rush. pic.twitter.com/T1suOCogqo
4.129 - RB Roschon Johnson, Texas
The 2023 RB draft class is one the deepest and most talented in recent memory. Rounds three and four seem to be the sweet spot when they start flying off the board and where Roschon Johnson is still hopefully available for Dallas, despite arguably being a Top 100 player this year. The 6’0”, 225-pound RB is a former QB who checks all of the boxes teams look for in a RB1 and could be the future of the position for the Cowboys regardless of what happens to Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.
While we wait for the Roschon Johnson video to upload, here are some of my favorite plays of his from 2022!— Nash (@NashTalksTexas) February 9, 2023
He's alright I guess pic.twitter.com/8UksDhYX8j
5.163 - LB Cam Jones, Indiana
Leighton Vander Esch, Anthony Barr, and Luke Gifford could all possibly be leaving via free agency, leaving the Cowboys extremely thin at the position. Cam Jones (6’0”, 227) could not only add much-needed depth, but could possibly compete for starting job as a rookie. He is a hard-hitting tone-setter who plays with much more physicality than his size would suggest. His playing style and physical demeanor would fit nicely into Dan Quinn’s system.
BIG hit by senior Indiana LB Cam Jones on Cincinnati RB Jerome Ford. pic.twitter.com/THuZRVXwuO— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) September 18, 2021
5.170 - WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
Mike McCarthy has shown a tendency to prefer bigger wide receivers during his time as head coach for both the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys and Jonathan Mingo (6’1”, 226) definitely fits the bill. He compares favorably to Eagles WR A.J. Brown - a fellow Ole Miss alum - from a size, speed, talent, and physicality standpoint. He could play a similar type of role with the Cowboys who are trying to find Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb more help.
Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents lines up to press Jonathan Mingo in the one-on-ones, but Mingo's physicality and speed are too much for Brents on this rep. It's an easy touchdown. #NFLDraft #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/ZZxCX6nW1H— Sam Teets (@Sam_Teets33) February 6, 2023
5.176 - DT Brodric Martin, Western Kentucky
Where’s the beef!? With both Jonathan Hankins and Carlos Watkins potentially leaving via free agency, the Cowboys could be looking for another big-bodied, space-eating defensive tackle for the middle of their defensive front this offseason. Brodric Martin is an under the radar, sleeper candidate who could fill that void for Dallas’ defense. The 6’4”, 337-pound DT is an immovable force with impressive length (34 3/8 inch arms, 84 2/8 inch wingspan).
6.212 - TE Davis Allen, Clemson
Even though Dalton Schultz is probably leaving via free agency, and both Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot showed promise to be the future the position, the Cowboys could be looking to add more depth at TE through the draft. Davis Allen is an intriguing Day 3 prospect who could push for significant playing time as a rookie. Whether it’s in-line or split out, Allen offers excellent size (6’5”, 246), length, and is an above-average athlete for the position.
Clemson TE Davis Allen is one of most “under talked-about” prospects in this year’s draft class. One longtime @ClemsonFB staffer told us @davisallen17 is best TE in Dabo Era, which includes former first-rounder and longtime NFL starter Dwayne Allen. pic.twitter.com/ZHvTqWaQpW— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) December 4, 2022
7.246 - EDGE BJ Thompson, Stephen F. Austin
In DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, Dorance Armstrong, and Sam Williams the Dallas Cowboys have good depth at defensive end heading into the 2023 season. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t add more, especially a developmental prospect with upside at this point in the draft. That is exactly what BJ Thompson is. He’s even caught the eye of Dane Brugler, who recently compared him to former Cowboys pass rusher Randy Gregory.
I am very intrigued with Stephen F. Austin pass rusher BJ Thompson, who has flashes on tape that bring back memories of scouting Randy Gregory coming out of Nebraska. He is quick off the ball with outstanding speed and bend to give blockers trouble in space. He has a long, stretched-out frame (34 3/8-inch arms), but is thin through his hips and lower body (238 pounds at 6 feet 5).