We are only a couple of weeks away from the start of the 2019 NFL Draft. It feels like it’s been a long journey to draft day, but for those in the talent evaluation field, it might not feel long enough.
Of course the Cowboys likely won’t have their pick of the board until the second round, when they come on the clock 58th overall. Based on their pre-draft visitors list they clearly have certain positions they’d like to target in that second round, but the question really will be about who is available when it’s their turn to pick.
Here are three players that should be available when Dallas is on the clock for the first time in 2019 that they will likely consider heavily.
Juan Thornhill, Safety, Virginia
If it feels like you keep seeing the same names on these types of list, it’s for a good reason. The Cowboys will likely look to add a safety within their first two selections, and Virginia’s Juan Thornhill fits what they could be looking for.
Thornhill tested out of this world at the Combine, putting him right on the top of many fans’ draft targets. He actually tested relatively similar to current Cowboy Byron Jones, indicating he could be even more attractive to Dallas than to other teams. Then again, when someone tests like Thornhill did, they’ll raise eyebrows all across the league.
With his rare athletic attributes and history playing at both cornerback and free safety, Thornhill could be Kris Richard’s pet-cat on draft day.
Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama
Christian Miller is a personal favorite of mine in this EDGE class, and he has a real shot of being there when the Cowboys pick at 58. Sure, Dallas did just sign DeMarcus Lawrence to a contract extension and trade for Robert Quinn, but you can never have enough quality pass rushers.
Drafting Miller would add another talented rusher to the Cowboys’ defensive front rotation, and give them some flexibility on the edge in terms of roster building moving forward. Outside of Lawrence and Quinn the Cowboys’ defensive end situation is still in flux, with Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong functioning as unknowns at this point.
Of course a rookie would also be an unknown, but Christian Miller would be a damn talented “unknown” with a high ceiling as a pass rusher.
LJ Collier, DL, TCU
TCU’s LJ Collier is a Rod Marinelli defensive lineman. A high energy and physical defender with a never-say-die attitude, Collier would be a solid chess piece for Marinelli to utilize across the defensive line.
Though not really athletic enough to rush on the edge full time in the NFL, and not really big enough to make his living on the interior all game long, Collier would fit nicely as a flexible tweener of sorts in the defensive line rotation. I could see Collier working as a nickel rusher at 3-technique, as well as a run defender at defensive end on early downs for the Cowboys while he develops his skills as a pass rusher.
Collier doesn’t have the upside as a rusher that someone like Christian Miller has, but he would fill a much different role with this defense.