Dissecting The Dallas Cowboys Draft Visits


With just over a month until the 2015 Draft kicks off in Chicago, Illinois, and with the brunt of free agency largely over, the Dallas Cowboys are in full on draft mode. Dallas’ assistant director of player personnel, Will McClay, along with the father/son executive team of Jerry and Stephen Jones, will now be tirelessly combing through game tape before Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the first pick on April 30th.

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One of the yearly rituals of the NFL draft is inviting players to Valley Ranch to get a closer look. Thus far, this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys have invited 18 players to Big D. Notable players on the list include potential first and second round running backs Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah, and Tevin Coleman, linebackers Eric Kendricks and Benardrick McKinney, cornerback Kevin Johnson, and quarterback Bryce Petty.

The first thing that jumps out at you over this list: where are the defensive lineman? Dallas’ struggles on the defensive line have been well documented, especially after the playoff loss to the Green Bay in which the Cowboys failed to generate any pressure on Packer’s signal caller, Aaron Rodgers.

The Cowboys have addressed their defensive line troubles so far in free agency, signing the troubled, but talented Greg Hardy. Paired with formidable lineman such as Tyrone Crawford and the promising prospect, DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys are now better off on the defensive front, but with defensive coordinator, Rod Marinelli’s eagerness to rotate lineman, Dallas would be wise to bring in a couple other solid pieces.

Although they have yet to visit, Dallas will be in the market for a defensive lineman if one were to fall into their laps on draft day. At pick #27, the Cowboys will likely be drafting a player with a second round grade that they are confident in. Look out for names like Preston Smith, Carl Davis, Michael Bennett, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa.

Dallas also seems to be comfortable with their situation at offensive line. While there are no glaring holes on the highly praised offensive line, Dallas is in need for a swing tackle to back up Tyron Smith and Doug Free after the departure of Jeremy Parnell in free agency.

Since the re-signing of Doug Free this offseason, the Cowboys are unlikely to address the position in the first round. However, look to the third and fourth rounds for Dallas to bolster their line depth. Some potential picks to land in Dallas are Donovan Smith, and Ron Havenstein.

The ‘Boys will have an option to take a look at other players from the Dallas area during Dallas Day, where they are allowed to look at  prospects from colleges nearby and players that grew up locally. With their success and coaching, you can bet to see TCU prospects such as linebacker Paul Dawson, and cornerback Kevin White in attendance.

Unfortunately, with visits to Valley Ranch, Cowboys fans get merely an idea of who their team is targeting. Very likely, the number one pick on the ‘Boys draft sheet will not be any of these players. But just like all aspects of the NFL draft, it’s all about wetting our appetites until you hear Commissioner Goodell speak “With the 27th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select…”

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