The holy grail of Cowboys pre-draft activity is the official pre-draft visit. Every year in early April, the Cowboys are allowed to bring in up to 30 usually high-profile, national draft-eligible players for official pre-draft visits.
Most of the Dallas top picks in the draft over the last two decades visited with the Cowboys prior to the draft, which is why we watch the official pre-draft visits so closely.
The “Top 30” visits do not involve any workouts, they are strictly meet-and-greets where the team can get a better feel for the players and the medical staff can conduct more thorough medical checkups, but the players do not work out for the team. Nick Eatman explains:
The all-day visits consist of the players not only meeting with potential position coaches, but reviewing tape and breaking down film. Along the way, the players get a chance to meet with other prospects, as well as support staff of the team, including trainers, strength coaches and the operations staff.
The Cowboys can also bring in as many draft-eligible local prospects (players who went to high school in the Dallas/Fort-Worth metropolitan area or attended TCU, SMU, or North Texas) as they like for visits and workouts during “Dallas Day,” and while Dallas Day is happening today, that is separate from the Top 30 visits.
Additionally, the team can have private workouts with as many prospects as they want, but in the Cowboys’ hierarchy of pre-draft meetings, workouts, interviews, and visits, private workouts frankly don’t mean all that much.
The names of the “Top 30” have just started popping up over the last few days, and we are not close to the full contingent yet. But until somebody releases the full names of all 30 “Top 30” visitors, here’s what we have so far (Player rank on the CBS board in brackets to give a better idea of where in the draft a prospect is generally slotted).
- (24) Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
- (26) Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
*** Cowboys 1st-round pick (26) ***
- (34) Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
- (35) Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
- (50) Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
- (52) Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State
*** Cowboys 2nd-round pick (58) ***
- (56) Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
- (61) Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
- (69) Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida
- (71) Byron Young, DE, Tennessee
- (73) Marte Mapu, LB/S, Sacramento State
*** Cowboys 3rd-round pick (90) ***
- (98) Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
- (100) Jaquelin Roy, DT, LSU
- (102) Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
- (106) Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami
- (124) Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
*** Cowboys 4th-round pick (129) ***
- (130) Viliami Fehoko, DL, San Jose State
- (131) Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss
- (149) D.J. Johnson, DE, Oregon
*** Cowboys 5th-round pick (169) ***
- (196) DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
*** Cowboys 6th-round pick (212) ***
- (216) Ilm Manning, OL, Hawaii
*** Cowboys 7th-round pick (244) ***
- (318) Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky
- (380) B.J. Thompson, EDGE, Stephen F. Austin
- (NR) Raiqwon O’Neal, OL, UCLA
- (NR) Silas Dzansi, OL, Va. Tech
- (NR) Eric Scott, CB, Southern Miss
*** Status unclear ***
- (46) Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
- (194) Cameron Latu, TE, Alabama
- (206) Atonio Mafi, OL, UCLA
- (291) Payne Durham, TE, Purdue
- (NR) Durrell Johnson, LB, Liberty
We have worked diligently to ensure that every name on this list is properly sourced. We now have 30 names on the list, but it’s likely that the TCU guys were misidentified as Top 30 visits, when in fact they count as Dallas Day vistors, so the list of names could still grow. We’ll update the list once we have more clarity on the names.
UPDATE: And here’s Todd Archer delivering the goods on the Top 30 list:
Draft day is finally here. Cowboys pick at No. 26 tonight and have one pick in each round over the next three days (Nos. 58, 90, 139, 169, 212, 244 overall). Here’s a look at 27 of their national “top 30” visits. Unsure if they used all 30, could be short a player or two. pic.twitter.com/V4G1pZYM0O— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) April 27, 2023
It’s very early to draw any type of conclusions from the names above, but the list of visitors may give us a glimpse of what a Cowboys draft strategy could look like:
- Get a wide receiver early
- Get a cornerback in the first two days of the draft
- Be ready to pounce on a dropping offensive or defensive lineman.
But it could also be something completely different; at this point the Cowboys seem to be casting their net pretty wide and seem to have invited almost every position imaginable.
Based on the handful of names above, which positions would you prioritize in the draft?
Last Updated on Thursday, April 27th at 9:30 AM ET.
By popular request, here’s a list of the known Dallas Day participants. Importantly, the Cowboys have had prospects in for a Top 30-equivalent visit, but they officially count as Dallas Day visits, as Todd Archer explains.
One of the benefits of living in a football-rich area for the Cowboys? Jaxon Smith-Ngiba's visit falls in the "Dallas Day" category since he grew up in Rockwall, Texas. He does not count against the 30 national visitor limit.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) April 10, 2023
- (13) Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
- (21) Jaxon Smith-Ngiba, WR, Ohio State
- (36) Steve Avila, OL, TCU
- (42) Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
- (81) Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
- (103) Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma
- (160) Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU
- (175) Clayton Tune, QB, Houston
- (180) Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
- (186) Tanner McCalister, S, Ohio State
- (223) Brayden Willis, TE, Oklahoma
- (244) Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU
- (258) Malik Knowles, WR, Kansas State
- (295) Tyler Lacy, DL, Oklahoma State
- (313) Max Duggan, QB, TCU
- (353) Alan Ali, OL, TCU
- (374) Dee Winters, LB, TCU
- (375) Michael Turk, P, Oklahoma
- (NR) Calvin Avery, DT, Illinois
- (NR) Keilahn Harris, WR, Oklahoma-Baptist
- (NR) Jarek Broussard, RB, Michigan State
- (NR) Jimmy Phillips Jr., LB, SMU
- (NR) Jason Shelley II, QB, Missouri State
- (NR) Logan Bonner, QB, Utah State