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NFL Draft Blog | 2024

Draft Blog: Could the Past Affect Plans at LB?

The 2024 draft season is upon us and the Cowboys have the No. 24 overall pick in the first round. The Draft Blog will chronicle the draft process for the TV leading up to the NFL Draft in Detroit on April 25-27.

Stay locked in with the Draft Blog as we key tabs on all of the news and notes as it pertains to the TV and the draft process over the next few months.

April 15 - Could the Past Affect Plans at LB?

It's no secret that the TV could add some depth at the linebacker position. More likely than not, that depth will be added through the NFL Draft later this month.

In the past, Dallas has taken chances on the linebacker position by drafting players with medical flags in their collegiate scouting report. Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Damone Clark have all started games for the Cowboys, despite the early concerns. The front office will have to answer similar questions around some of the top prospects in this year's linebacker class as well.

For example, Payton Wilson (NC State) has skyrocketed up draft boards with some impressive traits and film. However, he's tallied multiple major injuries and surgeries throughout his career. He'd be a great schematic fit for the Cowboys and fantastic value in the second round, if he falls to pick 56, but will he be worth the risk?

While he may be the best overall linebacker in the draft, recent history may persuade a sturdier path when drafting the position. Such as Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M) or Junior Colson (Michigan), who each appear to be healthy and can still bring high-level traits and production.

There are elements and values that'll have to be weighed when adding to the linebacker room this Spring. And health should play a major factor in how all the pieces fit together. It'll be interesting to see if the approach has changed, or will stay the same. - Kyle Youmans

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April 8 – Cowboys Media Debuts Building the Board

With just over two weeks until the 2024 NFL Draft, now is the time where teams piece together their draft boards with all the information from the NFL Combine, Collegiate All-Star Games, Pro Days and 30 Visits. All narrowing down their list of players to create a realistic list of prospects to target. The TV media team has been doing the same with their latest Building the Board series, showcasing some of the biggest draft names and needs.

Since 2021, Building the Board has provided Cowboys-relevant draft analysis as a position-by-position web series filmed at The Star in Frisco. This year, team reporter Nicole Hutchison hosts each episode alongside the rotation of Cowboys and NFL Draft insiders Kyle Youmans, Patrik Walker, and Nick Harris.

Release Dates for Each Episode:

  • April 8: Running Backs (Patrik Walker & Nick Harris)
  • April 10: Linebackers (Patrik Walker & Nick Harris)
  • April 15: Defensive Line (Kyle Youmans & Patrik Walker)
  • April 17: Wide Receiver (Kyle Youmans & Patrik Walker)
  • April 22: Cornerback (Kyle Youmans & Nick Harris)
  • April 24: Offensive Line (Kyle Youmans & Nick Harris)

Follow along on DallasCowboys.com, the Cowboys Now App, and the TV YouTube Channel.

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April 1 – Local Draft Prospects Attend Dallas Day

Another day, another scheduled event in the 2024 NFL Draft process has come and gone. Dallas Day took part on Monday inside Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, as prospects from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area completed private workouts for Cowboys staff.

During these workouts, teams can conduct interviews, workouts, and written tests with draft-eligible prospects, hoping to find local value in the upcoming draft. Some who participated in past Dallas Day workouts include former Cowboys like Connor Williams, Lance Dunbar and Cole Beasley.

While prospect names and workouts remain private, the premise of who can attend is simple. Teams across the NFL can bring in an unlimited number of prospects who either grew up in, or played college football within, their metropolitan Area. All of which, is a benefit for the Cowboys who have TCU, North Texas, SMU, and a hot bed of High School Football talent available from around the area.

While many think the range for prospects is set by circumference around the team's facility in Frisco, it's actually set by the 2024 Rand-McNally Road Atlas. Whatever the atlas deems as a contiguous suburb, creates the pool of players that Dallas can pull from. - Kyle Youmans

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March 28 - Big 12 Pro Day kicks off in Frisco

All 32 teams are represented at the Big 12 Pro Day today, as the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and defensive backs all took part in testing and drills on Thursday.

Day three value highlighted the early session with TCU running back Emani Bailey, TCU tight end Jared Wiley (who could sneak into day two) and Kansas tight end Mason Fairchild. UCF wide receiver Javon Baker – who had a formal meeting with the TV at the combine and is projected to come off the board on day two – was the biggest name of the morning session.

In the afternoon, all eyes fell upon Texas Tech safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson and Iowa State cornerback T.J. Tampa. Both participated in drills and have seen consistent day two values.

The Pro Day will take Good Friday off on the field before returning on Saturday with the offensive and defensive linemen, as well as the linebacker group. Kansas State guard Cooper Beebe, West Virginia center Zach Frazier and more will be the biggest names to watch for the Cowboys. - Harris

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March 27 – Names to Watch During Big 12 Pro Day

This week, The Star in Frisco plays host to one of the newest innovations in the NFL Draft process, Big 12 Pro Day. Instead of taking part in each of individualized pro day festivities at each school, the top draft prospects will hit the field at Ford Center on Thursday, March 28 and Saturday, March 30. Here are four Cowboys fits that will be participating in the event.

Cooper Beebe, OL (Kansas State)

Offensive line certainly tops the list of priorities for the Cowboys, so it's only fitting that one of the top offensive line prospects in the Big 12 will have all eyes on him. Beebe enters as one of the most experienced prospects in the draft class, and one with plenty of production as well. He was a two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and finished his career with 50 games played. He'll have to show off better athleticism to overcome the "short-arms" narrative from his measurement at the NFL Combine (31.5-inch wingspan).

Zach Frazier, OL (West Virginia)

Another great prospect on the offensive line and one that could be argued as the toughest player in the NFL Draft. Frazier could have the best chance out of Big 12 Linemen to go in the first round with great footwork and understanding of the game. His vision helped him plow the way for the Mountaineers over 3,200 snaps. Teams will look to his athleticism and strength drills to really get a complete picture of the prospect.

Javon Baker, WR (UCF)

While Dallas may not be in the running for a first-round receiver, it is still a position that's not off the table for a draft pick. That's where Baker could fit in as a mid-round value. While Baker has the ideal frame and strength for the position, his 4.54-second 40-yard-dash in Indianapolis was a bit disappointing compared to his play-speed on tape. He'll have a chance to improve upon that number and complete his profile with some better numbers on Thursday.

T.J. Tampa, DB (Iowa State)

Dallas only held formal meetings with a handful of defensive backs during the NFL Combine, T.J. Tampa was one of them. Tampa was one of the best corners in the country during his senior season, earning AP Third-Team All-American honors in 2023. He showcased pro-ready size and length at the position while carrying the Cyclones secondary. Due to a hamstring injury, Tampa did not workout at the NFL Combine, so it'll be interesting if he's available to place measurements for the draft process. - Kyle Youmans

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March 25 - Stephen Jones discusses Jonathon Brooks

Texas running back Jonathon Brooks probably would have been the consensus number-one player at his position going into the draft had he not suffered a torn ACL in November in a win over TCU, but even with the injury, he is expected to be one of the first backs taken in the draft on day two.

Not only do the Cowboys have the advantage of having Brooks in their backyard just south on I-35 in Austin, but the team's physician, Dr. Dan Cooper, is the doctor that performed Brooks' ACL repair surgery.

​​"It always helps when one of the doctors you're very familiar with does the surgery," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on Monday. "That'll be very helpful. Obviously, he's a guy we follow right in our backyard in Texas. He's got a lot of skill sets. If it wasn't for the injury, might would've ultimately been rated the best back in the draft. Any time that a back is coming off an injury, you have to take those things into account."

Brooks is expected to be cleared in time for training camp for whatever team selects him in the draft, and that is the expectation that has been communicated to Jones as well.

"Our understanding is that he has a great chance to be ready to not miss anything, start training camp and go to work," he said. "We'll see. I don't want to preempt anything. I haven't seen the medical reports, but from a periphery basis from afar, going to the combine and things like that, I think he can be a player that can start first day of training camp. Not start, but participate right away." - Nick Harris

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March 20 - Cowboys set to host Brooks for 30-visit

Texas running back Jonathon Brooks is scheduled to take a 30-visit to the TV in early April, he told DallasCowboys.com on Wednesday at UT's Pro Day in Austin. 

Brooks, who is highly regarded as one of the top running backs in the draft class, rushed for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns while hauling in 25 receptions for 286 yards and one touchdown in 10 games last season for the Longhorns before tearing his ACL against TCU in late November.

Despite the injury, Brooks is on track to recover in time to participate in training camp for whichever team selects him next month. Of note, the Cowboys' team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper, performed the surgery on Brooks.

Brooks joins a list of reported 30-visits for the Cowboys that includes Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper and Kentucky linebacker Trevin Wallace. - Nick Harris

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March 19 - Regional Pro Days taking place this week

The Pro Day calendar is off and running as prospects are getting one final opportunity to participate in on-field workouts in the draft process before embarking on top-30 visits in the weeks leading up to the draft.

This week, programs around the state of Texas are holding their respective Pro Days, as top college prospects in the Lone Star State will draw the attention of the league's 32 scouting departments.

Texas A&M's Pro Day will take place on Tuesday, Texas on Wednesday, and Houston Christian on Thursday. These will lead into the three-day Big 12 Pro Day event at The Star in Frisco next weekend.

Here are the notable players participating in the regional Pro Days this week:

  • Texas A&M LB Edgerrin Cooper
  • Texas A&M DT McKinnley Jackson
  • Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith
  • Texas A&M OL Layden Robinson
  • Texas A&M S Demani Richardson
  • Texas RB Jonathon Brooks (won't participate due to ACL recovery)
  • Texas WR Adonai Mitchell
  • Texas WR Xavier Worthy
  • Texas WR Jordan Whittington
  • Texas TE Ja'Tavion Sanders
  • Texas OT Christian Jones
  • Texas DB Ryan Watts
  • Texas LB Jaylan Ford
  • Texas DT T'Vondre Sweat
  • Texas DT Byron Murphy II
  • Houston Christian DE Jalyx Hunt

- Nick Harris

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March 6 - Could a Mid-Round QB be in the mix?

Now that the NFL Combine has wrapped, most of the names of interest for the front office have emerged. Some with first-round hopes, others as value picks later in the weekend. But there really hasn't been much buzz at one position in particular, quarterback.

Of course, Dallas already has their leader in Dak Prescott and have already spent some draft capital on Trey Lance. But with Cooper Rush set to be a free agent, and an extension with Dak yet to be seen, could a mid-round option at quarterback be a shot worth taking?

The answer is yes. Tulane's Michael Pratt is the first name that comes to mind. Pratt enters as an experienced signal caller with a leadership and fundamentally sound background, accompanied by a versatile and athletic on-field skillset out of college. He could be a nice fit in round four or five. Another option could be Jordan Travis from Florida State. Before suffering a gruesome leg injury late in the year, he was one of the most versatile and prolific passers in college football. And with the injury questions lingering, he could be a possible steal on Day Three if all checks out.

Dallas won't be in the market to spend high draft picks on guys like Bo Nix (Oregon), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), or any of the other top quarterback prospects. But don't be surprised if they look for value at the position late in the draft, hoping to strike quarterback gold again. - Kyle Youmans

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March 3 - Xavier Worthy sets 40-yard dash record with 4.21

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy set the NFL Scouting Combine record in the 40-yard dash on Saturday night by running an official 4.21 in the event. After running a 4.25 in his first attempt, Worthy went back to the starting line to try and beat the record instead of passing up his second attempt. The record bested John Ross' time of 4.22 in 2017.

Worthy had a formal meeting with the TV during the combine this week, as the team met with a large handful of top receiver prospects in Indianapolis. With his record-setting 40-time, Worthy is expected to comfortably find himself in the first round of April's draft.

LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. was the next-fastest wide receiver at 4.33, Worthy's Texas teammate Adonai Mitchell was next at 4.34, North Carolina's Devontez Walker ran 4.36 and Arizona's Jacob Cowing clocked a 4.36. The Cowboys also formally met with Thomas Jr. and Mitchell during the week. - Harris

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March 2 - Cowboys meet with over a dozen OL in Indy

Saturday served as the final day of media availabilities at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, as we got an opportunity to put together some of the foundational pieces of the Cowboys' formal meeting list this week.

Granted 45 formal meetings at the combine by the NFL, the Cowboys spent at least 11 of those meetings with offensive linemen. They also remained active with informal meetings with later round options.

Here is the full list of meetings with offensive linemen.

  • OT Amarius Mims - Georgia (formal)
  • OT JC Latham - Alabama (formal)
  • OT Jordan Morgan - Arizona (formal)
  • OL Graham Barton - Duke (formal)
  • OT Isaiah Adams - Illinois (formal)
  • OT Taliese Fuaga - Oregon State (formal)
  • OT Blake Fisher - Notre Dame (formal)
  • OL Troy Fautanu - Washington (formal)
  • OT Christian Jones - Texas (formal)
  • OT Tyler Guyton - Oklahoma (formal)
  • C Zach Frazier - West Virginia (formal)
  • OT Dominick Puni - Kansas (informal)
  • OT Julian Pearl - Illinois (informal)
  • OT Brady Latham - Arkansas (informal)
  • C Beaux Limmer - Arkansas (informal)
  • C Kingsley Eguakun - Florida (informal)
  • OT Gottlieb Ayedze - Maryland (informal)
  • OG Javion Cohen - Miami (informal)
  • OT Delmar Glaze - Maryland (informal)
  • C Tanor Bortolini - Wisconsin (informal)
  • OT Josiah Ezirim - Eastern Kentucky (informal)

Note: This is not a complete list. - Harris

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March 1 - Cowboys hold WR & RB formal meetings

The TV continue their busy week at the NFL Scouting Combine as more clarity was presented on the formal meetings they're holding this week, with running backs and wide receivers taking the podium today to talk to the media and shed some light on their meeting schedules.

Of the players that DallasCowboys.com was able to meet up with, eight wide receivers and five running backs were some of those included in the 45 allocated formal meetings for the Cowboys this week as well as a handful of other players at those positions participating in informal meetings.

Here is the full list of running backs and wide receivers:

  • WR Keon Coleman - Florida State (formal)
  • WR Troy Franklin - Oregon (formal)
  • WR Adonai Mitchell - Texas (formal)
  • WR Javon Baker - UCF (formal)
  • WR Jalen McMillan - Washington (formal)
  • WR Brian Thomas Jr. - LSU (formal)
  • WR Xavier Worthy - Texas (formal)
  • RB Trey Benson - Florida State (formal)
  • RB Ray Davis - Kentucky (formal)
  • RB Audric Estime - Notre Dame (formal)
  • RB Braelon Allen - Wisconsin (formal)
  • RB Jaylen Wright - Tennessee (formal)
  • WR Bub Means - Pittsburgh (informal)
  • WR Jermaine Burton - Alabama (informal)
  • RB Jawhar Jordan - Louisville (informal)
  • RB Dylan Laube - New Hampshire (informal)
  • RB Isaac Guerendo - Louisville (informal)
  • RB Daijun Edwards - Michigan (informal)
  • RB Tyrone Tracy Jr. - Purdue (informal)

The media availabilities will wrap up on Saturday with the offensive linemen – a position group that is expected to have the Cowboys heavily involved. - Harris

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Feb. 29 - Secondary help a potential day two need

The media availabilities for draft prospects continued on Thursday afternoon at the NFL Combine as defensive backs and tight ends made the rounds with the various outlets in attendance. The morning allowed for a clearer picture towards what the Cowboys' draft strategies could look like including **four day one to day two cornerbacks having formal meetings** with the team this week.

In addition, tight ends coach Lunda Wells is at the combine, as he usually is, meeting with various tight ends informally. While the position is not expected to be a draft need, Wells is continuing to do his due diligence with the position group in Indianapolis.

Here are the players that DallasCowboys.com was able to meet up with on Thursday who said they had met with the Cowboys:

  • CB Nate Wiggins - Clemson (formal)
  • CB Caelen Carson - Wake Forest (formal)
  • CB T.J. Tampa - Iowa State (formal)
  • CB Kamari Lassiter - Georgia (formal)
  • S Evan Williams - Oregon (informal)
  • CB Kris Abrams-Draine - Missouri (informal)
  • CB Johnny Dixon - Penn State (informal)
  • CB D.J. James - Auburn (informal)
  • CB Dru Phillips - Kentucky (informal)
  • CB Tarheeb Still - Maryland (informal)
  • TE Brock Bowers - Georgia (informal)
  • TE AJ Barner - Michigan (informal)
  • TE Trey Knox - South Carolina (informal)
  • TE Tanner McLachlan - Arizona (informal)
  • TE Tip Reiman - Illinois (informal)
  • TE Jared Wiley - TCU (informal)
  • TE Ben Sinnott - Kansas State (informal)
  • TE Dallin Holker - Colorado State (informal)
  • TE Devin Culp - Washington (informal)

-Nick Harris

Feb. 28 - List of DTs & LBs Cowboys met at combine

The NFL Combine is off and running as Wednesday served as the first day that the media was able to speak with players. The defensive linemen and linebackers were the position groups making the media rounds before they head to Lucas Oil Stadium to participate in their on-field drills on Thursday.

Of the defensive linemen and linebackers in attendance that DallasCowboys.com was able to catch up with, the Cowboys were able to meet with a total of 22 players including 8 formal interviews and 14 informal interviews.

Here is the list of those players:

  • LB Junior Colson - Michigan (formal)
  • LB Ty'Ron Hopper - Missouri (formal)
  • LB Edgerrin Cooper - Texas A&M (formal)
  • DT McKinnley Jackson - Texas A&M (formal)
  • DT Maason Smith - LSU (formal)
  • DT Kris Jenkins - Michigan (formal)
  • DT Ruke Orhorhoro - Clemson (formal)
  • DT T'Vondre Sweat - Texas (formal)
  • DE Xavier Thomas - Clemson (informal)
  • DE David Ugwoegbu - Houston (informal)
  • DE Jaylen Harrell - Michigan (informal)
  • DE Eyabi Okie-Aboma - Charlotte (informal)
  • DE Mohamed Kamara - Colorado State (informal)
  • LB Tyrice Knight - UTEP (informal)
  • LB Jaylan Ford - Texas (informal)
  • LB Darius Muasau - UCLA (informal)
  • LB Curtis Jacobs - Penn State (informal)
  • LB Marist Liufau - Notre Dame (informal)
  • DT Fabian Lovett - Florida State (informal)
  • DT Leonard Taylor III - Miami (informal)
  • DT Logan Lee - Iowa (informal)
  • DT Dewayne Carter - Duke (informal)

The media will meet with defensive backs and tight ends on Thursday, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers on Friday and offensive linemen on Saturday. - Harris

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Feb. 27 - NFL Combine officially kicks off Wednesday

The NFL Combine is here and DallasCowboys.com is on-site in Indianapolis along with 300-plus of the nation's top available draft talent. The festivities will officially kick off with the college talent on Wednesday, as defensive linemen and linebackers will meet with the media in the morning.

On Thursday, defensive backs and tight ends will meet with the media before quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers talk to the media on Friday. The media sessions will end on Saturday with offensive linemen and kickers.

The on-field drills and testing will be staggered one day after the media sessions.

  • Thursday, Feb. 29 - Defensive Linemen / Linebackers (3:00 p.m. ET)
  • Friday, March 1 - Defensive Backs / Tight Ends (3:00 p.m. ET)
  • Saturday, March 2 - Quarterbacks / Running Backs / Wide Receivers (1:00 p.m. ET)
  • Sunday, March 3 - Offensive Linemen (1:00 p.m. ET)

- Harris

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Feb. 26 - Brooks expected to be cleared by camp

It's officially NFL Combine week, and more clarity is beginning to emerge from prospects in attendance including a potential top running back target for the TV.

Texas running back Jonathon Brooks — who is widely considered the top back in this year's draft — will not be participating in drills at the combine this week as he continues to recover from a torn ACL he suffered in November.

Although the injury was late in his final season with the Longhorns, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Monday that Brooks is expected to be cleared before beginning training camp with whatever team drafts him in April. According to the doctor that performed his surgery, Dr. Dan Cooper, Brooks is healing well as expected. Of note, Cooper is also the team physician for the Cowboys.

Brooks is one of a handful of running backs that are expected to come off the board on day two of the draft, which could be the Cowboys' wheelhouse towards nabbing a new backfield weapon. - Harris

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Feb. 22 - Certain combine medical reports to watch

The NFL Combine is less than a week away from getting started in Indianapolis, as over 300 of the nation's top available draft talent will go through interviews with teams and the media as well as the scheduled workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium. One aspect of the combine that scouts pay close attention to is the medical reports that come out of the extensive physicals that are done during the week.

For the Cowboys, a handful of top players at positions of need will be followed closely coming out of that process.

Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton is trending as a late first round option for trench-needy teams, and results coming out of his torn labrum will be key. There aren't major concerns, but a clear physical will reinforce his stock. 

West Virginia center Zach Frazier broke his leg in his final season with the Mountaineers and is still rehabbing to get back to 100-percent. Along those same lines, Texas running back Jonathon Brooks – who is trending as the top running back in the draft – tore his ACL in November and had his ACL surgery done by the TV' team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper.

North Carolina State linebacker Payton Wilson is a consensus top five linebacker in the draft, but two knee injuries and a shoulder injury from his days with the Wolfpack will have teams watching his medical evaluation closely. Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean is dealing with a lower leg injury that will keep him out of the workouts in Indianapolis, but his medical evaluations are not expected to be overwhelmingly negative. - Harris

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Feb. 21 - Making the case for trading up and trading back

With the Cowboys expecting to have seven draft picks (R1, R2, R3, R5 (expected comp.), R6 (expected comp.) R7 and R7) this year, a thought around the Dallas draft community exists to trade back a few spots at some point in the draft to pick up an extra selection.

With Dallas currently holding the No. 24 overall pick, an opportunity could present itself for the Cowboys to gain a middle round pick by moving back a few spots into the late 20's. With a deep tackle class awaiting in the first round, falling back could still allow Dallas to take a tackle later in the round, but they do run the risk of not having a first-round caliber player available for them when that time comes.

To that same point, a run of offensive linemen is expected to take place in the late teens of the draft, with teams such as the Bengals, Rams, Jaguars and Steelers being among the other offensive line-needy teams. If the board starts slimming up with talent, jumping up a few spots could be the best solution to ensuring that the Cowboys have a first round quality offensive lineman for the future – if they are hellbent on coming out of the first round with that position addressed.

Even aside from the first round, we've seen the Cowboys make moves on day two and three in recent drafts to move around and either acquire picks or move up to grab players – such as in 2023 when they traded up to grab Eric Scott Jr. in the sixth round. In 2024, the assumption would have to be that any trade made would be to acquire more picks. Even just one extra pick on day three could help solidify needs that Dallas will have coming out of free agency in the coming weeks. - Harris

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Feb. 20 - Running back draft strategy dependent on free agency

Going into the offseason, the TV have a handful of positions in need of upgrading, and while draft talent will certainly play a role in filling those holes, opportunities exist in free agency to alleviate pressure in certain positions in the draft.

Arguably the biggest spotlight going into free agency is the running back position. The Cowboys have a decision to make with Tony Pollard and if they want to bring him back in the building. If they do, drafting a running back is still a necessity, but there's less pressure on finding a starting caliber back that can play day one. If they don't bring him back and pick up a running back in free agency, the decision then goes to if they feel like they need a day-one starting caliber player or a complementary back in the draft.

Top running back options include Texas RB Jonathon Brooks – who is coming off an ACL tear and will require patience to get off the ground and going – Michigan RB Blake Corum – who had a productive season for the reigning national champs but lacks the ideal size – and Florida State RB Trey Benson who could be the best fit for the Cowboys of all three options at the top of the board.

However, third round options still exist such as productive stat filler Bucky Irving out of Oregon and downhill physical specimen Braelon Allen out of Wisconsin. - Harris

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Feb. 8 – 3 Possible 'Double-Dip' Positions in the NFL Draft

It's a question asked every single year, which position group makes the most sense for multiple selections in the NFL Draft? Especially with a crucial offseason hanging in the balance, there could be a few spots Dallas would look to upgrade in 2024.

Offensive Line: The trenches top the list. Mostly because Dallas could make investments in both guard and tackle. But also, because the value at the position would line up to where the Cowboys would take a lineman. They could make an investment up front by drafting and offensive lineman in the first round, and again on day two or early day three.

Linebacker: More of a need, less of a value. Dallas played the final weeks of the 2023 season with one true linebacker on the active roster. While value is important when picking in the NFL Draft, so is an apparent need for bodies to play the position. Look for them to search for linebacker talent as early as the second round.

Edge Rusher: This one may be a little under the radar. From the outside, it appears the Cowboys have enough at edge rusher to start. However, with Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler hitting the free agent market this summer, there needs to be an influx of depth. And as we've seen in the past, this front office hasn't backed away from taking day three edge rushers. They could definitely do so again. -Youmans

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Feb. 6 - Draft Blog: Is linebacker an early round necessity?

College all-star games are in the rearview mirror as now the draft process looks ahead to the NFL Combine at the end of the month in Indianapolis. Draft boards around the league are becoming more detailed as well as potential needs in the draft with free agency approaching.

With that in mind, the TV have a clear need in the second level at the linebacker position this offseason – and may be even clearer that there's a need to bring in multiple bodies to help the depth. Obviously, the status of Leighton Vander Esch as well as what happens in free agency will determine a lot as far as Dallas' draft strategy at the position goes, but with a talented linebacker class at the top paired with Dallas' need, is it a necessity to grab one by the end of day two?

Looking at potential options, Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M), Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson), Payton Wilson (NC State) and Cedric Gray (North Carolina) are intriguing talents in the second level that could slide in and contribute early for Dallas alongside DeMarvion Overshown and Damone Clark. If the Cowboys decide to wait until later in the draft to get a linebacker, they risk sacrificing the ability to plug and play early, but that could also be assisted with a strong solution in free agency. But if the team wants young talent to contribute on day one at linebacker, grabbing one in round two or three may be the only option. - Nick Harris

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Feb. 1 – West Dominates East in First Frisco Shrine Bowl

The 99th annual East-West Shrine Bowl is in the books. The West outlasted the East in a battle of the NFL's top draft prospects, 26-11. Running back Frank Gore Jr. from Southern Miss won the Offensive MVP award and Jarius Monroe from Tulane won the Defensive MVP, thanks to a game-sealing interception.

Multiple prospects built on their solid week of practice, including UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau, who started the night off with a thud by stuffing the run for a loss. Additionally, his West teammates Soloman Byrd (USC) and Grayson Murphy (UCLA) tallied multiple pressures and made it a long night for East quarterbacks.

Additionally, the West shined behind quarterback Tualia Tagovailoa (Maryland) and running back Blake Watson (Memphis) and Frank Gore Jr. (Southern Miss). Both stood out with rushing scores for the West offense and helped dominate on the ground alongside Gore Jr.

The East pieced together a few bright spots in a punt return touchdown from Oregon State wide receiver Anthony Gould and a stout outing by Boston College guard Christian Mahogany in the trenches.

Tune in to The Draft Show Friday morning at 11am CT, for a complete wrap of the 99th Annual Shrine Bowl and a preview of the 2024 Reese's Senior Bowl. - Kyle Youmans

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Jan. 31 – Defensive backs shine on Day 2 in Mobile

The second day of Senior Bowl practices concluded on Tuesday afternoon in Mobile, as multiple defensive backs were able to shine.

Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell has been generating buzz as the potential first cornerback off the board in April's draft amidst a stretch in Mobile where he has been a technician in coverage against some of the top receivers in attendance. Missouri cornerback Kris Abrams-Draine came into Mobile with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and you can see that translate onto the field with his physicality in coverage.

The defensive backs were also active in taking the ball away on Wednesday, as along with Mitchell getting an interception, Washington State cornerback Chau Smith-Wade had an interception while falling back into the end zone and Rutgers safety Max Melton forced a fumble in team drills.

Other standouts from the day included Connecticut offensive lineman Christian Haynes, Texas defensive tackle T'Vondre Sweat, North Carolina State linebacker Payton Wilson, Missouri offensive tackle Javon Foster, USC running back Marshawn Lloyd and Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall. - Nick Harris

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Jan. 30 – Practice notes from Day 1 at the Senior Bowl

The Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. kicked off on Tuesday as dozens of the nation's top available draft talent was present for one of the draft process' premier events.

Standouts from day one include Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson, Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell and Oklahoma tackle Tyler Guyton.

Powers-Johnson, who worked at center and right guard, displayed his strong base/anchor at both positions and found success in team drills in creating running lanes. Mitchell, who did not lose a one-on-one rep the entire day, is starting to generate buzz as the potential first cornerback off the board in April at his current progression rate. Guyton, who has been in the first round to the Cowboys, displayed his length in pass protection and his mobility against more athletic edge rushers on his way to having arguably the strongest day of all offensive linemen in attendance.

Other day one standouts included Maryland safety Beau Brade, Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Hall, Baylor defensive tackle Gabe Hall, Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey and Western Michigan defensive end Marshawn Kneeland. -Ჹ

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Jan. 29 – Shrine Bowl Day Three Showcases Speed

The third practice day has come to a close for the Shrine Bowl in Frisco, and there was a common theme in both sessions. Speed. Both the East and West teams showcased speed inside Ford Center as multiple players continued to build on good weeks.

UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau turned heads for a third straight day. During the early portion of practice, he took solid angles to track down a ball carrier while being in position to make a tackle. Then he undercut a pass in the slot for an interception at the goal line during redzone 7-on-7 drills. His speed and instincts helped gain more momentum as the draft process continues.

On the offensive end, UTSA wide receiver Josh Cephus showed off the route running ability. He was already known for his NFL-ready size at 6-foot-2 190 pounds, but he answered some questions around his speed and agility. Cephus won multiple reps at the line of scrimmage and continued to build separation at the stem of his routes. He finished the day with multiple catches and one drop.

As Dallas continues to evaluate draft prospects for potential fits and positions of need, both Muasau and Cephus could fit the need and value around linebacker and wide receiver. -۴dzܳԲ

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Jan. 28 – Two interior linemen making Shrine Bowl noise

We are through two days of practice at the Shrine Bowl in Frisco as 130-plus of the nation's draft available prospects have put their talents on display at The Star for the dozens of scouts in attendance.

Two interior linemen are beginning to separate themselves from the pack as Boston College guard Christian Mahogany and Penn State center Hunter Nourzad have turned heads through the first two practice sessions. Mahogany, a projected third-round pick, has used his strong upper half and high motor to make an impact while Nourzad has displayed a base in pass protection that has seen him anchor into the turf into the Ford Center no matter who gets put in front of him.

The expectation is that Dallas takes a tackle in the first round of the draft at this point, but additional offensive line help in the middle rounds could be a useful option as well. These two names will be ones to watch as the Cowboys have more scouts in attendance for the Shrine Bowl than any team in the NFL. -Ჹ

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Jan. 25 – East-West Shrine Bowl Schedule of Events

For the first time in the 99-year history of the East-West Shrine Bowl, it will be played in Frisco, Texas. On Thursday, February 1, 130 of the nation's top draft prospects will duel inside Ford Center at the Star in front of scouts, media, and fans to improve their draft stock.

Along with the game itself, there will also be a week of practices and events full of NFL Draft coverage. Below is the schedule of East-West Shrine Bowl festivities in Frisco (all-times central):

Saturday, January 27

  • East Team Practice 1: 8:15am-9:45am
  • West Team Practice 1: 10:00am-11:30am

Sunday, January 28

  • West Team Practice 2: 8:15am-9:45am
  • East Team Practice 2: 10:00am-11:30am

Monday, January 29

  • East Team Practice 3: 8:15am-9:45am
  • West Team Practice 3: 10:00am-11:30am

Tuesday, January 30

  • West Team Practice 4: 8:15am-9:45am
  • East Team Practice 4: 10:00am-11:30am

Wednesday, January 31

  • Media Day: 11:00am-1:00pm

Thursday, February 1

  • Shrine Bowl Fan Fest: 4:30pm-6:30pm (Open to the public)
  • East-West Shrine Bowl on NFL Network: 7:00pm Kickoff

For all East-West Shrine Bowl coverage, stay tuned on dallascowboys.com and on twitter.

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Jan. 24 – Cowboys expected to have seven picks

The TV currently have five draft picks in hand for the 2024 NFL Draft in April, as they will have a first-round pick (No. 24 overall), a second-round pick (No. 58 overall), a third-round pick (No. 87 overall) and two seventh-round picks (No. 230 overall from Raiders in Johnathan Hankins trade and No. 241 overall).

The Cowboys are also expected to add two compensatory picks for the free agent departures of Connor McGovern and Dalton Schultz. According to projections by Over the Cap, those picks are expected to be in the fifth-round and sixth-round. Although compensatory picks are not expected to be finalized until early March, there is a chance that Dallas could add a third compensatory pick in the seventh-round from Noah Brown's departure, but Over the Cap is not projecting that to land.

The Cowboys' fourth-round pick was sent to the San Francisco 49ers in the Trey Lance trade while the fifth-round pick was sent to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2023 draft day trade to move up and take Eric Scott Jr. and their sixth-round pick was sent to the Houston Texans in the Brandin Cooks trade. - Nick Harris

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Jan. 23 – Jordan Morgan mocked to Dallas at No. 24

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network and Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN have both released the first editions of their respective 2024 mock drafts, and each have the TV selecting Arizona offensive tackle Jordan Morgan with the No. 24 overall selection in the first round.

A 6-foot-5, 325-pounder with 35 starts over four years with the Wildcats, Morgan was named a first-team All-Pac 12 member after starting all 12 games at left tackle this past season. His 2,153 snaps at left tackle over three seasons could give the Cowboys an NFL-ready option if they choose to move on from Tyron Smith with his impending free agency.

A young duo of Tyler Smith and Morgan on the left side of the offensive line could be one of the better young tandems in the league considering Smith's second-team All-Pro season in 2023 and Morgan's elite pass protection ability that saw him allow just two sacks and 16 pressures as a senior. - Nick Harris

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Jan. 23 – Linebacker Prospects Showcasing in Frisco

The TV front office will benefit from another detailed look at intriguing linebacker prospects this week with the upcoming East/West Shrine Bowl coming to Frisco. It's no secret that the Cowboys defense could use some capable talent at the second level after fighting through depth issues in 2023.

Leading the excitement around the class is Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M), who will showcase a diverse skillset for the East. Cooper was one of two off-ball linebackers in the SEC this past season to tally at least eight sacks. He did not play in Texas A&M's bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft process, making this one of his final opportunities to raise his draft stock as a potential first-rounder.

Other notable linebacker prospects that will be attending include Curtis Jacobs (Penn State), Kalen DeLoach (Florida State), Darius Muasau (UCLA), and Steele Chambers (Ohio State). All of which are expected to hear their name called on draft weekend as true linebackers. -۴dzܳԲ

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Jan. 23 – A potential center option in the second round?

As the draft process starts to ramp up for the TV, fans are also starting to pin some potential prospects to the Cowboys in fan mock drafts on social media. One of the more popular choices amongst Cowboys fans is Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson in the second round with the No. 56 overall selection.

Powers-Johnson – the Rimington Trophy winner for the nation's best center in 2023 – allowed just one pressure and zero sacks on 829 snaps played at center this past season for the Ducks. Prior to 2023, the Utah native saw snaps at four of the five offensive line positions: LG, C, RG, RT.

A late second round projection going into late January, Powers-Johnson will have the opportunity to increase his stock at the Senior Bowl next week in Mobile and at the combine in late February. I think it'd be a steal at this juncture to be able to get Powers-Johnson at No. 56 considering the center options in the draft and how far teams might reach in the second round or late in the first round to grab one.

Whether the Cowboys decide to move on from Tyler Biadasz this offseason with his impending free agency or not, Powers-Johnson could be an option to add depth in the interior of the offensive line. It also wouldn't hurt to have former Oregon teammate T.J. Bass alongside him after Bass was easily the lone bright spot for the Cowboys' 2023 rookie class. - Nick Harris

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