FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys brought their domestic visitors to the Star this week to meet with coaches, medical staff, scouts and the front office, including owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys still have a few spots left for last-second visits, but their roster is usually a good barometer of who they’ll eventually choose from. Since 2005, the Cowboys have used their first pick on a player to visit Valley Ranch or The Star on nearly three occasions: LB DeMarcus Ware (2005), CB Morris Claiborne (2012) and WR CeeDee Lamb (2020). Lamb’s case was different as players were not allowed to visit facilities in person due to the pandemic. He said the only contact he had with the Cowboys before this draft was at the combine. Last year’s No. 1 selection, linebacker Micah Parsons, got a virtual visit with the Cowboys.
The Cowboys had first-round talent as a defensive tackle (Jordan Davis of Georgia) and linebacker (Devin Lloyd of Utah) for visits, but they had several first-round prospects in the building at wide receiver and offensive line.
Why these stains?
At catcher, the Cowboys traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns and lost Cedrick Wilson to the Miami Dolphins in free agency. They re-signed Michael Gallup, who may miss early games as he recovers from knee surgery, and added James Washington.
On the offensive line, left guard Connor Williams joined the Dolphins and the Cowboys released right tackle La’el Collins, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. They have yet to add an offensive lineman in free agency.
When asked at NFL owners’ meetings about taking an offensive lineman early, Jones told reporters, “Famous last words: We’ll get one unless Lamb or Parsons are there.”
With the help of ESPN draft expert Jordan Reid, here’s a look at the receiver and lineman adjustments that stopped at The Star this week:
WR Chris Olave, Ohio State: “I would be surprised if he passed Green Bay at No 22. Just smooth overall. That’s how I would describe him: very smooth road runner, very deceptive, has a lot of vertical speed. He has good hand-eye coordination to follow the ball. I don’t think he’ll be around at 24 but he would be a good fit. Complements Lamb and Gallup well because those guys don’t attack the deep end too regularly than him. He would unlock that third level.”
WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas: “He’s a bit underdeveloped compared to some others just because they played him – off the offensive line – anywhere when he was at Arkansas. You had to pause the screen to find 16. He would be at quarterback, running back, the lunge, even H-back. couldn’t develop as a road runner. a lot on tape. He moves around a lot, so he’s a jack-of-all-trades but a master of nothing. But if you find him with a creative offensive coordinator like Kellen Moore, use his skills, he will be fine.
(ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen named Dallas a good landing spot for Burks based on program, team needs and value.)
WR Drake London“He’s probably the most polarizing guy in the bunch because obviously we haven’t seen him do any pre-draft stuff. His pro day is April 15th so we’ll know more. But he’s a big body [6-foot-4, 219 pounds]. He reminds me a lot of Mike Williams when he came out of Clemson and is now with the Chargers. He is tall. He will go get it. Right now I think he’s a bit of an underrated road runner. He can give you a lot after the capture. That’s what’s different with some of these other guys.”
OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M: “Without a doubt, he’s a Day 1 starter at left guard. Just the experience he had at A&M. He played pretty much every position outside of center, but he made a few snaps at the combine so maybe some see him as a centre/guard. He played left tackle but I don’t see him doing that at the next level. I think he gives you real value at the inside and he walks through the door [as the starter] if you play him in the center or guard if you are not confident in [Tyler] Biadasz or if he is Connor Williams’ replacement. I think it’s more realistic.”
OG Zion Johnson, Boston College: “He’s one of my favorite players in the whole class. I was impressed with him throughout the pre-draft process from start to finish. He played guard and tackle for Colombia Columbia and we saw him play center during the pre-draft process and in the Senior Bowl. He played there for the first time and there was no drop at all. He can play center and guard. I don’t think he’s a tackle, but he, [center Tyler] Linderbaum and Green, I feel confident being inside guys from day one. Yes [Johnson] is there at 24, I’m going up the map as fast as I can.”
OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State: “I see him going into the top 15. I don’t think he’ll pass the Saints at No. 16 or the Chargers at 17 since both have tackling needs. He won’t be for everyone just because of his inexperience as a run blocker. [Mississippi State coach] Mike Leach’s system was 81% to 19% in passing to run. He is very inexperienced as a run blocker. He can do it, but he just doesn’t have the experience to do it. As a pass-protector, it is more refined. If you like passing and want to get the ball in the air, Cross will appeal to you. If you’re Pittsburgh or Baltimore, ground and pound team, I don’t know.”
OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan“There are a lot of mixed opinions at the moment. I see him more in the second round, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes to the first. He’s going to be a bit older, a 25-year-old rookie. He’s going to be 25 once he starts his freshman year and there’s going to be teams that have age thresholds that they’re going to be on that, especially talking about longevity and a second contract on a player 30 years old. be a little bit bottom of the table but he started as a tight end and then moved on to tackle. He has a lot of strength. I think he’s just a right tackle only right now, but it wouldn’t surprise me if anyone thinks they can play left tackle.”