Dream draft target could fall to Cowboys after 2024 NFL Combine

NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

News that Tyron Smith won't be returning to the Dallas Cowboys overshadowed the NFL Combine for fans of America's Team. Assuming that Smith is gone, offensive tackle seems like an obvious first-round target for the Cowboys now.

Granted, Dallas might have selected a tackle at No. 24 overall anyway. Now, though, it feels like a given, which is unfortunate considering how many prospects showed out in Indianapolis. A number of wide receivers, linebackers, running backs, cornerbacks and defensive tackles put on eye-popping displays.

Conversely, some prospects hurt their draft stock at the Combine. This could play in the Cowboys favor, however. One of the biggest fallers from the weekend is none other than Texas nose tackle T'Vondre Sweat, who weighed in at 366 pounds, making him the heaviest defensive player to weigh in since 2013.

Widely viewed as a high-second round pick after a dominant career at Texas, Sweat's weight and poor relative athletic score (RAS) could see him slide to the Cowboys, who hold the No. 58 overall pick in the second round.

Texas DT T'Vondre Sweat could fall to the Cowboys after NFL Combine

Is Sweat's weight a concern? Perhaps. He tired during positional drills, posted underwhelming jumping scores and ran a 5.27 40-yard dash with a 1.8 10-yard split. But 366 pounds is the weight he played at in college and he dominated. The performance shouldn't dissuade Dallas from targeting the former Longhorn.

At the end of the day, Sweat is an outstanding run defender and his physical profile is exactly what the defense needs in the trenches. He can take on double teams to free up pass rushers and second-level defenders. But his ability to clog running lanes would be a godsend to newly-minted defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Yes, Mazi Smith was taken in the first round last year, but that shouldn't stop Dallas from investing in the position. Any elite team has multiple capable DTs, and Smith is no sure thing after his bizarre weight loss amounted to a lost rookie year.

The Combine isn't the be-all, end-all evaluation for prospects, but Sweat's weight and athletic test will be a non-starter for several NFL teams. You can guarantee that. For better or worse, teams put a ton of stock into a prospect's RAS.

This could allow other defensive tackles to leapfrog Sweat on draft boards before April. That would be the dream scenario for the Cowboys, who were gashed on the ground to the tune of 143 yards in the wild card loss to Green Bay.

Make no mistake: Dallas' chances of drafting Sweat increased dramatically in Indianapolis. Before the showcase, it was considered a pipe dream at best.

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