Chiefs stole dream prospect from Cowboys in NFL Draft thanks to Dan Quinn

Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Commanders coach Dan Quinn during the NFL Scouting
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Commanders coach Dan Quinn during the NFL Scouting / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Between trading back in the first round and still netting their future left tackle, selecting a DeMarcus Lawrence clone in Marshawn Kneeland and finally getting a thumper at linebacker in Marist Liufau, the Dallas Cowboys put together an excellent 2024 NFL Draft upon first review.

As always, every decision will be analyzed with a fine-tooth comb. The Trey Lance trade loomed large in round four when a slew of RBs came off the board. It will also be interesting to watch if taking Liufau in the third round over a running back like Marshawn Lloyd was the correct call.

The Lance trade is a prominent talking point after the Cowboys declined his fifth-year option, but another 2023 trade reared its ugly head during the draft.

Remember when Dallas sent a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Chiefs to move up in the sixth round for cornerback Eric Scott Jr.? Well, Kansas City used that pick on Penn State center Hunter Nourzad, who was a 30-visit for the Cowboys before the draft.

Cowboys fans have Dan Quinn to thank for this.

Cowboys missed out on Hunter Nourzad in NFL Draft thanks to Dan Quinn

Now the head coach of the Commanders, Quinn had significant influence in the Cowboys' war room throughout his tenure as defensive coordinator. He was a big proponent of selecting Mazi Smith in round one last year. Any defensive player drafted by Dallas got Quinn's seal of approval.

The fact the Cowboys traded up for Scott Jr. all but confirms Quinn pounded the table to get that over the line. The trade-up was difficult to reckon with given that Scott wasn't expected to get drafted. A two-time transfer at the college level, Scott was regarded as a seventh-round pick at best.

It initially looked like Quinn's judgment was right. The former DC was very complimentary of Scott throughout the offseason, including training camp. In Quinn's defense, Scott looked the part early on. He shined during camp and highlights showed him applying sticky coverage seemingly at every practice.

For whatever reason, that success didn't translate to a game setting as Scott struggled mightily during preseason. He allowed a 70% completion rate, 18.0 yards per catch and a 118.2 passer rating when targeted, per PFF. He still made the 53-man roster but was a healthy scratch for all 17 games.

It's anyone's guess what the future holds for Scott after the Cowboys got a steal in Wake Forest corner Caelen Carson in round five.

Meanwhile, Nourzad figures to make an immediate impact for the two-time defending Super Bowl champs. Over his last three years between Cornell and Penn State, he played 801 snaps at center, 535 at left guard, 582 snaps at right tackle and 170 at left tackle. He played exclusively center in 2023 and didn't allow a single sack on 398 pass-block snaps.

We'll never know what Cowboys would have done with that fifth round pick if they held onto it, but Nourzad at the very least would've been on their radar. While they got a steal in round three in Kansas State guard Cooper Beebe, it wouldn't surprise at all if Nourzad is starting for the Chiefs in a year or two.

With regards to Scott, it's hard to have any confidence that he'll still be on Dallas' roster in a year or two.

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