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NFL Draft

Potential DT Prospects Dallas Cowboys Could Target in Each Round

Brian Martin

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Potential DE Prospects Dallas Cowboys Could Target in Each Round

Nearly all of the Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman are either under a one-year contract or entering the remaining year of their deal, so the 2019 NFL Draft might be a good time for them to start preparing for the future. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Cowboys draft a DT early, quite possibly with their first selection at 58th overall in the second-round.

With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of the defensive tackle prospects in this year's draft class the Dallas Cowboys could be interested in in each round. Fortunately, this is a good year to draft a DT and there are several potential candidates in each round that makes sense.

Let's take a look…

Second Round

Dexter Lawrence

Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence

Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

Dexter Lawrence has a chance to sneak into the first-round, but could slide right into the Dallas Cowboys lap just as easily. He would be a no-brainer pick and take over as the starting one-technique from Day 1. He moves surprisingly well for a player his size and flashes dominant qualities as a run defender. He needs to improve his pass rushing repertoire, but the skills are there. He would immediately upgrade the defense and help keep the Cowboys young, talented linebackers clean to make plays all over the field.

Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State

Dre'Mont Jones unfortunately didn't test as well as many were expecting at the 2019 NFL Combine, but he possesses the skill set to become a disruptive force as a three-technique in a 4-3 defensive scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has a quick first step and understands how to get skinny to be a force as a pass rusher. His work as a run defender leaves much to be desired though. He will really need to improve his strength and technique before he can be considered in every down player.

Third Round

Trysten Hill

Central Florida DT Trysten Hill

Trysten Hill, UCF

Trysten Hill is someone the Dallas Cowboys have shown a pretty strong interest in throughout the draft process. He was not only part of their 30 allotted pre-draft visitors, but Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli also personally put him through drills at his Pro Day. He also happens to be one of my "pet cats" in this year's draft class. He is exactly the kind of disruptive DT Marinelli likes and has the versatility to play it at the one or three-technique. He plays with reckless abandon right now and needs to clean up some things, but he is a moldable piece of clay worth developing.

Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois

Khalen Saunders is an athletic big-bodied DT who absolutely dominated lesser talent during his time at Western Illinois. He flashes dominance on tape in both the running and passing game, but is still pretty raw from a technical standpoint. He needs to improve his pass rush moves and technique because he has struggled at times getting off the blocks. His athletic ability and strength are all NFL ready though and he projects best as a 4-3 one-technique with three-tech upside.

Fourth Round

Gerald Willis III

Miami DT Gerald Willis III

Daniel Wise, Kansas

Daniel Wise was a four-year starter at Kansas and played up and down their defensive line in a variety of roles and fronts. He projects best as a three-technique in a 4-3 defensive scheme in the NFL due to his quick first step and relentless motor. He never quits on a play and gives it his all down after down. He played a high volume of snaps during his time with the Jayhawks and never seem to wear down, which is a testament to his endurance. He only has average athletic ability, but his relentlessness makes them difficult to block in both the running and passing game.

Gerald Willis III, Miami

Gerald Willis III was a one-year starter at Miami and unfortunately doesn't have the best track record on or off the field. He would come with plenty of red flags if he were to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but he has the talent to become a starter in the NFL. He projects best as a three-technique and has the quick first step to be a disruptive force in both the running and passing game. He's a little undisciplined with this approach and will need to clean up his technique, but he has the skill set to have a long career in the league.

Fifth Round

Michael Dogbe

Temple DT Michael Dogbe

Keke Kingsley, Texas A&M

Keke Kingsley was a three-year starter at Texas A&M. He started his career as a nose tackle before dropping 20 pounds and moving to defensive end prior to his senior season. He is a smooth athlete for his size and has the versatility to play a variety of roles along the defensive line. He shows strength in his upper body, but needs to play with a better base and pad level at the next level. He would likely be a rotational player in a 4-3 defense his rookie season, but with more development he has started potential in a year or two.

Michael Dogbe, Temple

Michael Dogbe is one the strongest players in the entire 2019 draft class. In summer workouts he bench pressed 505 pounds, including 37 reps up to 25 and squatted 685 pounds. He played all across the defensive line during his time at Temple and has the versatility to do the same in the NFL in a four man front. He probably projects best as a three-technique where he can use his quick first step and strength to his advantage. He's probably a rotational player as a rookie, but has starting potential with more seasoning and development.

Seventh Round

Terry Beckner Jr.

Missouri DT Terry Beckner Jr.

Terry Beckner Jr., Missouri

Terry Beckner Jr. was was a three-year starter at Missouri. He struggled with knee injuries early on in his career, but started all 26 games his last two seasons and finished with double digit tackles for loss both years. He had plenty of splash plays in his collegiate career, but really needs to improve his strength and mechanics to carve out a role in the NFL. He has the desired quick first step to become successful, but if he doesn't win with his initial burst he tends to get washed out of plays.

Demarcus Christmas, Florida State

Demarcus Christmas was a four-star recruit out of high school and a three-year starter at Florida State. He was a part of a heavy defensive line rotation with the Seminoles and played primarily over the A-gap. He looks the part of an NFL defensive lineman with his well proportioned 300 pound broad frame and uses his size effectively to stack and shed offensive lineman, but he hasn't developed like many believed he would. He has the power to play in the league, but needs to improve his instincts and technique if he wants to make an NFL roster.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.

One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.

A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.

In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.

But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?

The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.

Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.

Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.



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NFL Draft

Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.

You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.

The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:

  • DT, Trysten Hill
  • RB, Tony Pollard
  • RB, Mike Weber
  • WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
  • CB, Chris Westry

If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.

The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.

I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.

After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.

This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.

It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.

Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?



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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades

Shane Carter

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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades 1

Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.

Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.

Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.

58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 1

In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.

Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.

It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Grade: B

90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 6

As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.

However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.

Who’s job could be on the line?

Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?

Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?

Is one of them going to get traded?

Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?

So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.

Grade: A

128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard

If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.

Shane Carter on Twitter

Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft

Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.

The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.

Grade: A-

158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 9

This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.

His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.

With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.

Grade: C+

165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 11

Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.

The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.

The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.

Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.

Grade: B+

213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson 

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 12

The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.

Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.

Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.

Grade: B

218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 13

Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.

Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.

He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.

Grade: B

241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 14

Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.

It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B



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