Cowboys NFL Draft big board: 50 targets, plenty of O-linemen and running backs

Cowboys NFL Draft big board: 50 targets, plenty of O-linemen and running backs

With the NFL Draft beginning Thursday night, we’ve updated our Dallas Cowboys big board with 50 players, broken down by the three days of the draft. It’s 10 players who make sense on Day 1 (first round), 20 players on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) and 20 players on Day 3 (Rounds 4-7).

This group has been compiled based on fit for the Cowboys and also interest shown by the team. For example, all of the team’s official 30 pre-draft visitors are included.

With the Cowboys not picking until No. 24 and not expected to trade up, we left off several of the top players in this class. For example, we don’t expect top offensive tackles like Joe Alt or Olu Fashanu to still be there when Dallas is on the clock, so they were not included.

Day 1

Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas. It’s most likely that the Cowboys will address offense with their first-round pick, but Murphy could certainly improve the middle of a defensive line that needs upgrading.

Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State. A right tackle in college, Fuaga has history at left tackle, and even playing guard, which could make for a great set of options alongside Tyler Smith. However, it’s unlikely Fuaga is still on the board in the latter part of the first round.

Graham Barton, OL, Duke. The highest-rated center by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, Barton has some position flexibility in his history but looks to be the answer to a need at center for the long haul.

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia. One of five tackles viewed as a true first-round talent, it’s more likely than not that he’s off the board by No. 24.

Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon. The medicals are causing him to slip a little bit but Powers-Johnson would be an immediate plug-and-play option in the middle of the offensive line.


Tyler Guyton has been a popular first-round pick for the Cowboys in mock drafts. (USA Today)

 

Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma. A right tackle in college, Guyton is capable of switching over to the left side and has the kind of physical attributes that, when polished, can translate well to the NFL.

Jordan Morgan, G, Arizona. The Cowboys gave significant thought to drafting Syracuse OL Matthew Bergeron last year in the first round. Brugler on Morgan in this year’s draft guide: “Though he can survive at tackle in the NFL, his skill set projects much better inside at guard, similar to Matthew Bergeron.”

Zach Frazier, C, West Virginia. If the Cowboys want to trade back, Frazier would be a candidate to be selected and immediately fill the vacancy at center.

Darius Robinson, DE, Missouri. It’s unlikely that Robinson would be the pick at No. 24. But if the Cowboys trade back and get wiped out of offensive players they like, Robinson could help improve the pass rush.

Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU. He’s a late riser. If the Cowboys are able to find a trade partner and move to the back of the first round, Suamataia would be a tackle capable of being a Week 1 starter on the left side.

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Day 2

Cooper Beebe, G, Kansas State. In a scenario where the Cowboys don’t address their offensive line in the first round, Beebe would make sense if he’s still there in Round 2.

Junior Colson, LB, Michigan. Linebacker is one of Dallas’ biggest needs, so a tackling machine like Colson would immediately upgrade the group. He is ranked as Brugler’s No. 1 off-the-ball LB in this class.

Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M. He was an extremely productive player last season for the Aggies, leading the team in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles.

Jonathon Brooks, RB, Texas. Brugler’s top-ranked running back, Brooks is one of the most complete backs in this class and has potential to be the face of an NFL backfield, when cleared medically.

Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky. Capable of fitting into an NFL scheme that offers some complexity and become a reliable receiver from the slot.

Dominick Puni, OL, Kansas. Projects as more of a guard than a tackle but has experience playing both, which can give the Cowboys options on how to allocate personnel to get their best starting five.

Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas. A receiving tight end who can supplement Jake Ferguson and help the Cowboys address the void at receiver, albeit from a different position.

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Patrick Paul, OT, Houston. A pure left tackle with the frame and strength to be effective but could benefit from getting his feet wet in the NFL as a swing tackle as opposed to a Day 1 starter.

Maason Smith, DT, LSU. Dallas wants to get bigger in the middle. Adding the 6-5, 305-pound Smith would definitely help in that area

Brandon Coleman, OL, TCU. ​​Has shown guard and tackle flexibility, which would allow the Cowboys to mold him into wherever he can be most successful in a pairing with Tyler Smith.

Roger Rosengarten, OT, Washington. He was a two-year starter at right tackle in college so he could protect the blindside of lefty QB Michael Penix Jr. The Cowboys could see him as a better fit at guard or give him the chance to make the transition to left tackle.

Blake Corum, RB, Michigan. He’s a smaller back at 5-8, 205. The Cowboys are likely looking for someone with a little more size. But he was extremely productive in college, rushing for 45 touchdowns in the last two seasons.

Trey Benson, RB, Florida State. An immediate contributor to the offense, both as a runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. He has excellent size and speed with big-play potential.


Trey Benson ran for 1,896 yards in two seasons at Florida State and scored 23 TDs. (USA Today)

Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee. A three-down back with the tools to be a playmaker, Wright may be the best running back on the board, if the Cowboys wait to address the position until the third round.

Trevin Wallace, LB, Kentucky. A sideline-to-sideline athlete who could immediately provide linebacker depth alongside Eric Kendricks, DeMarvion Overshown and Damone Clark, and be a significant contributor on special teams.

Payton Wilson, LB, North Carolina State. The type of productive player any team would love to have, however, concerns about his medical history could cause him to fall in the draft.

Jared Wiley, TE, TCU. Really intriguing tangibles, along with reliable hands, which make for a lot of potential for production in the red zone.

Marshawn Lloyd, RB, USC. Brugler’s No. 5 RB in this class is shorter than Brooks, Benson and Wright, but he weighs more (220 pounds). He has big-play potential as a runner and receiver.

Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin. Originally committed to Wisconsin as a safety, Allen has an aggressive mindset and play style. Despite three seasons in college, Allen, playing a young man’s position, will be just 20 years old his entire rookie season in the NFL.

Audric Estime, RB, Notre Dame. He’s coming off a monster season where he rushed 210 times for 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s a physical downhill runner with excellent size to do damage between the tackles.

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Day 3

Bucky Irving, RB, Oregon. A shifty back with a lot to offer to an NFL offense, as long as the committee of backs he joins can supplement his skills and not physically wear him out.

Ray Davis, RB, Kentucky. A very productive college player, rushing for more than 1,000 yards over each of the last two seasons. There are some concerns about his workload. He had 746 college carries. By comparison, Brooks had 238.

Jase McClellan, RB, Alabama. If the Cowboys get a nimble runner in the earlier rounds, McClellan has potential to be a decent complement back with a role to grind out the clock late in games.

Emani Bailey, RB, TCU. A hometown kid from up the I-35 in Denton, Bailey has some juice as a runner but needs more development to become a multi-dimensional player.


Emani Bailey ran for 1,209 yards last season for TCU and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. (Jerome Miron / USA Today)

Rasheen Ali, RB, Marshall. Speed and acceleration make him an intriguing option to take a chance on, but there are legitimate questions about his durability and ball security.

Tanor Bortolini, C, Wisconsin. If the Cowboys don’t grab a center in the first round, they will likely do so somewhere in the middle of the draft. Bortolini will probably be gone by the fourth round. This is where it would really benefit Dallas to trade back in Round 1 and add a third- or fourth-round pick in the process.

Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, C, Georgia. Another potential option if the Cowboys don’t address center earlier. Van Pran-Granger has started 44 games at center over the last three seasons.

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Beaux Limmer, C, Arkansas. The former guard made the move to center last season. He could offer flex to be able to play both positions in the NFL.

Hunter Nourzad, C, Penn State. A very smart player who is a bit up in age but, as mentioned in Brugler’s “The Beast,” he “might be this year’s Tyler Biadasz,” for better or worse.

Delmar Glaze, OT, Maryland. Worth being a little cautious with how the medical history will carry over but could be a productive player playing next to talent on the line that is better.

Andrew Coker, OT, TCU. A smart player who lacks many of the physical tools required and will have to learn how to compensate for his limitations at the NFL level.

Matt Goncalves, OT, Pittsburgh. ​​Better in the pass game than run blocking but capable of providing solid depth across various positions on the offensive line.

Jordan Magee, LB, Temple. Brugler has a fourth/fifth-round grade on Magee, who ranks eighth among off-the-ball linebackers. He’s projected to be an immediate standout on special teams with the upside to contribute defensively in Year 1.

Ty’Ron Hopper, LB, Missouri. He might not be an every-down linebacker but could offer enough playmaking to interest the Cowboys as depth and help on special teams.


Marist Liufau had six tackles for loss and three sacks last season for the Fighting Irish. (Kirby Lee / USA Today)

Marist Liufau, LB, Notre Dame. The late rounds seem like a great time for the Cowboys to add depth to a linebacking core that’s expected to change with Mike Zimmer as the new defensive coordinator.

Jaylan Ford, LB, Texas. He’s had more than 100 tackles in each of the last two seasons. He’s known for playing the position with exceptional instincts.

Nathaniel Watson, LB, Mississippi State. An extremely productive linebacker who is also a quality pass rusher. He led the SEC in sacks (10) and tackles (137) last season.

Jontrey Hunter, LB, Georgia State. Could be a target in the seventh round or as a priority undrafted free agent. He had 96 tackles in 12 starts last season.

Josh Newton, CB, TCU. There are several other needs much more important than corner this year. But one could be added at some point to potentially pair in the future with Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland.

Ryan Watts, DB, Texas. He played cornerback in college, but at 6-3, 215, his best spot in the NFL could be at safety.

(Top photos of Jaylen Wright, Graham Barton, Trevin Wallace: Randy Sartin / USA Today; David Jensen, Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

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