The Dallas Cowboys recently sent a conglomeration of coaches/scouts to Ohio State's Pro Day to get a firsthand look at the numerous amount of draft prospects that could be on their radar when the 2016 NFL Draft kicks off in April.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, running back coach Gary Brown, and quarterback coach Wade Wilson even put a few of the players through private workouts while they were there in order to take advantage of the opportunity.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, there was no shortage of players that could be beneficial to the team in 2016. There are approximately 15 draft eligible players that could hear their name called in Chicago, so that got me thinking just how many might end up with the Cowboys?
I used the CBS Big Board to determine where each player will most likely be drafted and broke it down a little further into which days they should hear their names called.
Here is how everything broke down according to CBS's rankings:
Day 1: Friday, April 28 (Round 1)
|Position||Height, Weight||Projected Round|
|Joey Bosa||DE||6'5", 269||1|
|Ezekiel Elliott||RB||6'0", 225||1|
|Darron Lee||LB||6'1", 223||1|
|Eli Apple||CB||6'1", 199||1|
|Taylor Decker||OT||6'7", 310||1|
Day 2: Saturday, April 29 (Rounds 2-3)
|Position||Height, Weight||Projected Round|
|Michael Thomas||WR||6'3", 212||2|
|Von Bell||SS||5'11", 199||2|
|Joshua Perry||LB||6'4", 254||2|
|Adolphus Washington||DT||6'3", 301||2|
|Braxton Miller||WR||6'1", 201||2-3|
|Nick Vannett||TE||6'6", 257||3|
Day 3: Sunday, April 30 (Rounds 4-7)
|Position||Height, Weight||Projected Round|
|Cardale Jones||QB||6'5", 253||4-5|
|Tyvis Powell||FS||6'3", 211||6|
|Jalin Marshall||WR||5'11", 200||7-FA|
|Chase Farris||OG||6'5", 310||7-FA|
As you can see, there is no shortage of Ohio State players available for the Cowboys to choose from on each day of the draft, but the question is do any of them make sense to add to the roster?
Day 1 Ohio State players of interest:
Joey Bosa is a player that has been linked to the Cowboys at #4 for a while now and could very well be wearing a star on his helmet 2016. He plays a position that the Cowboys are extremely thin at depth wise and the fact that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli personally put him through individual drills tells you all you need to know about the Cowboys interest.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott is another player that has been linked to the Cowboys numerous times and probably the only player in the entire draft that would have the biggest impact for the team. Elliott is a plug-and-play player that would excel behind the Cowboys dominant offensive line. There really isn't any weakness to his game and even though the Cowboys look set at the RB position, don't rule out their interest in him.
Of the remaining Ohio State players expected to be drafted in the first round only corner back Eli Apple would be likely to be drafted by Dallas. I don't expect the Cowboys to draft a linebacker (Darron Lee) or offensive tackle (Taylor Decker) this early in the draft, but someone like Apple may be too good to pass up. He has the size and speed that NFL teams covet and would have the added benefit of being brought along slowly and learning how to play the position at the NFL level.
Day 2 Ohio State players of interest:
Wide receiver Michael Thomas fits the criteria that the Cowboys like in their WRs (6'3", 212) and he would likely be an immediate upgrade over the inconsistent Terrance Williams. I believe Thomas is somewhat underrated. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the Buckeyes had so many weapons on offense that he wasn't featured as much to showcase his skills. I think the best is yet to come for him and he could possibly develop into a #1 WR in the NFL.
The Cowboys are looking to upgrade the safety position and Von Bell could possibly step in and make Barry Church have to except a backup role. Bell is listed as a strong safety, but I think he is versatile enough to start next to last year's first-round draft pick, Byron Jones, and give the secondary a pair of interchangeable players. This would probably give the Cowboys the best young safety duo in the entire NFL for years to come.
Linebacker Joshua Perry is more of a classical thumper, but I believe he is athletic enough to be an every down player. He could back up Rolando McClain and not only provide insurance at the middle linebacker position, but take over as soon as next season.
Adolphus Washington is an athletic penetrating defensive tackle that Rod Marinelli covets in his defensive line rotation. Washington could split reps with Tyrone Crawford at the 3 tech, but he could play the 1 tech as well.
Braxton Miller is an interesting prospect. It may take a little time for him to develop, but he has the skill set required to become a very good WR in the NFL. The Cowboys coaching staff were able to work with him one-on-one during Senior Bowl practices and would know if the risk is worth the reward.
Tight end Nick Vannett is a player that I really like. The Cowboys brought back James Hanna to be the #2 TE behind future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, but Dallas would be in trouble if they had to rely on Hanna as a #1 TE. Vannett would benefit from learning from Witten and he has all the qualities you look for to develop into a starting tight end.
Could the Cowboys strike gold in the third round by drafting Vannett, much like they did with Witten back in 2003?
Day 3 has a few draftable Ohio State players, and a couple that could possibly be priority free agents.
Cardale Jones could possibly be that QB that they want to develop to replace Tony Romo in the future. He has a cannon arm and is more athletic than people give him credit for, especially for his size.
Tyvis Powell could be a developmental safety that provides valuable depth, while also contributing on special teams.
Both Jalin Marshall and Chase Farris would have to be priority free agents because the Cowboys don't currently have any seventh round draft picks. They could be brought in to compete and add depth to the roster.
Well, there you have it. I could easily see several of these Ohio State players in a Cowboys uniform in 2016, although more than one of them is unlikely.
Who do you think the Cowboys could be most interested in?
Can Powers of Persuasion Help Make Will Hernandez a Cowboy?
There is no shortage of NFL hopefuls who would like to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, not one of them have used their powers of persuasion to make their intentions known as much as former UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.
Throughout the entire draft process, Will Hernandez has done nothing but stand out when given the opportunity. He first started to make waves at the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he pretty much dominated his competition. Then, he improved his draft stock even more by putting on a show at the Scouting Combine.
The 6'2", 330 pound offensive guard has likely cemented himself as a surefire first-round draft pick and is arguably the second-ranked OG in the entire 2018 draft class. He is a plug-and-play prospect for any team who drafts him, but he has made his intentions well known that he would love to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
Back in February, Will Hernandez was spotted hanging out with the Cowboys bookend offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, to see the premiere of the movie Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis.
@PujolsFive Cowboys fans will appreciate this post!! ⭐️ Movie Premiere #Deathwish Great movie!
To see Will Hernandez rubbing elbows with a few of the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive lineman only strengthened the connection for Hernandez becoming a draft pick by America's Team. But, this wasn't the only time the former UTEP offensive guard was seen out with a Cowboys player.
In March, he was once again seen out on the town with the Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.
Huge blessing being surrounded by players like this 👊🏽👊🏽
All of this can probably be chalked up to a current player hanging out with an NFL hopeful, but as a Cowboys fan you want to believe it's more than just a coincidence.
The Dallas Cowboys without a doubt need a new starting left guard. It can be argued it's the team's biggest need this offseason and Will Hernandez fits the bill to a T. He would immediately upgrade the entire offensive line and solidify the unit for years to come.
The only problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have already invested quite a bit in their offensive line and taking Will Hernandez in the first round would be considered by some as overkill. I for one wouldn't be opposed to taking him at 19 if he is the top rated player when the Cowboys are on the clock.
It's hard to know if seeing Will Hernandez hanging out with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins improves his chances of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but it definitely doesn't hurt. Offensive lines around the NFL perform at their best when they play as a cohesive unit, so developing a bond already could be viewed as a good thing.
Who knows, maybe Will Hernandez's powers of persuasion will pay off and end up being the deciding factor to help him become the next first-round offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you read anything into Will Hernandez hanging out with Cowboys players?
Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley
With NFL Free Agency buzz at full speed this week, Dez Bryant is one of the most intriguing names in the Dallas Cowboys world. We all know the story. We've been talking about it since last season. Bryant, who was once among the "Top WR of the league" conversation, doesn't look like an elite player anymore.
That doesn't mean he is a bad football player, but the problem is that he's getting paid big time.
The Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled with cap space for many years now, may want to avoid paying $16.5M to a player who isn't justifying his paychecks on the field. Big name and all, it certainly doesn't feel that way.
His lack of production on the field the last three years is concerning, even though he's played with quarterbacks not named "Tony Romo." There are other receivers around the league who have played with bad quarterbacks and have still been able to produce.
Even still, it wouldn't be easy to replace Bryant on the offense just like that. Right now, top free agents are already off the market, so if Dallas wants to replace him, it'd have to be via trade or via the NFL Draft.
ICYMI: A few things to consider as we wait on news about Dez Bryant's future with the Dallas Cowboys https://t.co/cCNpXmhARe
Right now, it seems that Dez is going to remain a Dallas Cowboy and after seeing the contracts other receivers in the league are about to get, who knows if a pay cut will even enter the equation.
Even if Dez keeps wearing the Star every week next season, wide receiver is still one of the team's top needs. Despite the fact that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten are some very well-known names, the truth is this offense needs a guy who can create separation and be harmful as a deep threat.
This is a draft class with a lot of depth at wide receiver, and the Cowboys could find contributors at the second or later rounds. Even still, if they're on the clock at 19 and Alabama's Calvin Ridley is available, the front office should pull the trigger.
Yes, even if Dez is still on the team.
Despite last year's struggles, we shouldn't lose faith on the Cowboys' offense when it has a lot of talent. We believed in this group to take us to the Super Bowl. What they are missing could just be a new, dynamic wide receiver.
Calvin Ridley is by far the best WR in the Draft this year and will be an impact player anywhere he goes. Despite a poor showing in the Combine, Ridley proves to be worthy of a first round pick on tape. Ideal route-running, great ability to separate and more than enough speed for the NFL.
This would certainly take a lot of pressure off Cole Beasley's shoulders, who was constantly double-teamed last year. Sure, he's still good, but if he continues to run into double-coverage, Dak Prescott and company will probably continue to struggle another year.
It's tough to imagine Calvin Ridley being available at 19, especially with the Baltimore Ravens holding the 16th overall pick. However, some people believe there's a 50/50 chance he's available once Dallas is on the clock. If that's the case, the Cowboys shouldn't pass on this prospect.
Ridley could very well end up being the most productive receiver for the Cowboys in 2018 becoming an essential "best friend" for Dak Prescott.
We've seen how other front offices have made friendly offenses for their young QBs and if Calvin Ridley is what it takes, why even think about it?
2018 NFL Draft: What Cowboys Look For In LBs
As we continue to move through the Cowboys' positions of need and construct their overall draft board, we now take a look at what Dallas tends to look for in linebackers.
The Cowboys have some real questions to answer within their linebacker corps this offseason. Sean Lee is an obvious stud, but his injury history makes him a bit unreliable. Jaylon Smith began to come along later in the season, but how much better will he be in 2018? And then, of course, there is the impending free agency of Anthony Hitchens the team must deal with.
The Cowboys will certainly be looking at this somewhat-deep linebacker class in the upcoming draft, and after reviewing what their "type" has been in the past, a few prospects stood above the rest.
And here it is for LB. Better set of training data so should be more predictive of future picks. LVE is a freak athletically.
For starters, Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds must have been built in a lab. At 6'4" 253 pounds he is much bigger and stronger than the typical Cowboys linebacker, but his athletic testing all exceed the normal thresholds as well. He is significantly faster and more athletic than the typical Dallas draft pick, and would be an excellent candidate with the 19th overall pick. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate him being their for the taking.
Iowa's Josey Jewell is an interesting prospect to evaluate. A rather reliable player on film, Jewell also passes each of the athletic thresholds set by Dallas in previous years. Well, besides his 40 time, which is nearly a full second slower than their average selection. Still, considering his tape, short shuttle, 3 cone, and broad jump, I expect him to be a potential target for the Cowboys on day two.
The 2 linebackers which fit the Cowboys' plan best, however, are BYU's Fred Warner and Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch.
As seen on the spreadsheet, Vander Esch is a certified freak by Cowboys' standards. He greatly exceeds each of Dallas' athletic markers, and does it all at 6'4" and over 250 pounds. Like I said, he's an athletic freak in the eyes of the Cowboys.
Warner is just below the average weight in previous years (by only 2 pounds), but he is much more athletic than players we've seen the Cowboys draft since 2011. He is converting from more of an EDGE-type role in college to being a full time off-ball linebacker, and so far he has looked comfortable doing so at the Senior Bowl and Combine.
Considering the struggles the Cowboys have had on defense as of late, finding these younger and faster players should be a priority. And, as indicated by the testing of their previous draft classes, the Cowboys should be able to upgrade on that athleticism during the 2018 NFL Draft.
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