Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the set of ESPN College Gameday before the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Cowboys 2014 NFL Draft anticipation is at a fever pitch with just three days to go before the big event. Speculation about whether the Cowboys move up in the draft, move down, pick a certain high-profile quarterback/wide receiver/defensive tackle/etc., or draft for their needs has Cowboys Nation buzzing. The impact of the draft cannot be underestimated, and fans know it well. There was even talk last week of a change in venue from the traditional New York City Radio City Music Hall when Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones on Friday during an interview with 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] was asked about hosting the draft next year.
"“As you can imagine, we like the idea. Anything that we can do at AT&T Stadium for our fans, give them a more up close and personal look at, I think would be a plus.” Jones continued, “I think it’s something that the league is seriously taking a look at. They’ve actually looked at making it multi-locational in terms of doing a day in New York and a day in another city, something like that. There’s a lot of things being discussed. At the end of the day, we’re trying to make our game better for our fans, and that includes all aspects of it. Certainly, we want our fans to be able to get up close and personal looks and I think looking at something like this is something that our fans might enjoy.”"
While we do not know what exactly the Cowboys will do this year, or where the draft will be in the future, what I know is that I will be in New York to witness the spectacle with my own eyes. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes down to who the Cowboys will actually end up drafting. When I’m asked my opinion, my tongue-in-cheek response is always, “who was drafted in the rounds before the Boys?”
In trying to make a draft guess, looking at previous years we see team owner Jerry Jones’ drafts often include players with whom the team has visited. Past Cowboys draft picks with pre-draft visits include Bobby Carpenter (06), Anthony Spencer (07), Felix Jones (08), Jason Williams (09), Dez Bryant (10) and Tyron Smith (11). In the last nine drafts, only DeMarcus Ware (chosen 11th in 2005) and Morris Claiborne (taken 6th in 2012) were top players drafted by the Cowboys without a pre-draft visit.
Head coach Jason Garrett and the Cowboys franchise hold private meetings in high esteem, so it is prudent to pay attention to the 2014 pre-draft and private workouts. Another tool Dallas uses to determine their draft is their annual “Dallas Day” event where they hosted over 50 players with local ties back on April 17th.
The Cowboys do not post an official pre-draft visit list for obvious reasons, but we do know they have conducted private workouts with or visited the following players:
OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
SS Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
OT Billy Turner, North Dakota State
TE C. J. Fiedorowitz, Iowa
LB Howard Jones, Shepherd
CB Walt Aikens, Liberty
QB Garrett Gilbert, Southern Methodist University
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
DT Jerrod Black, Southeastern Louisiana University
CB Dashaun Phillips, Tarleton State University
CB Brandon Dixon, Northwest Missouri State
DE Davon Coleman, Arizona State
This is not a comprehensive list, of course, as every team will attempt to keep secret who they are interested in and will even put out misinformation to throw other teams off, but again if history holds true it’s a pretty good guess to say they will pick a player with whom they have met.
So, who do they take? I don’t know…but the event will be highly entertaining, and extremely unpredictable since Jerry Jones loves to make a splash in the draft. This time next week I will have a full eye-witness report for you, and for hopeful fans, will be able to talk about how savvy the Cowboys were with their draft decisions.
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