The NFL Combine has been going on over the last several days in Indianapolis and Cowboys Nation was watching. Holding the 19th pick overall, the Dallas Cowboys have several needs and watching the combine was a good place to get a closer look at some of the prospects the team might want to look into.
We are almost completely finished with the workouts, with only the defensive backs left to go today and fans of the Cowboys already have a few pet cats they would love to see with a star on the side of their helmet. By all appearances, this is a deep draft, so Dallas should get one heck of a player at 19, as well as another high caliber starter in the second round with pick 50. Despite the excitement over a number of players, it is impossible for them all to get drafted by the Cowboys, regardless of what Cowboys Twitter tells you because they want everyone!
However, there were some players who looked very well suited for Dallas when they are on the board at 19 (or even slightly higher or lower, depending on what Trader Jerry does). Some of the players who made an impression and might be available when the Cowboys select: wide receiver D.J. Moore, guard Will Hernandez, defensive linemen Vita Vea, Da’Ron Payne, Taven Bryan and edge rusher Harold Landry.
These weren’t the only names that stood out, but some of those players, like Saquon Barkley, Tremaine Edwards, Roquan Smith, and Bradley Chubb have no chance to make it to pick 19, so let’s focus on guys who will.
Let’s start with D.J. Moore, who can bring the speed the offense has been missing. Moore blazed the 40 in 4.42 and tested as an extremely explosive athlete at the combine. The game film on Moore matches his impressive combine, he’s a terror with the ball in his hands and is a big-time playmaker. The Cowboys could use his skill set at wide receiver, with, or without Dez Bryant around.
Hernandez acquitted himself well by posting a group best 37 reps on the bench press and running a 5.15 40 time. Few care about the speed of an offensive lineman, but Hernandez showed off his crazy strength and he is as nasty as they come. A fringe first-round prospect coming into the combine, the guard may wind up going right around where the Cowboys pick. Hernandez would be a walk-in starter at left guard and an upgrade over Jonathan Cooper.
There isn’t much more to say about Vita Vea, the dude is an absolute stud. Vea put up 41 reps on the bench press and ran a 5.10 40-yard dash at 347 pounds before a hamstring pull cut his workout short. He’s the best interior defensive lineman in this draft and if Vea fell to the Cowboys at 19, he would be a great fit, no matter their ‘type.’
Da’Ron Payne was another inside defensive lineman who impressed. Payne ran a 4.95 at 311 pounds and his 10-yard split was better than Joey Bosa’s a few years ago, so it’s safe to say he’s an explosive athlete, only Payne does his work inside. He might fit more of what the Cowboys look for and Jason Garrett’s connection to Alabama coach Nick Saban may give the team a better guide to Payne’s ability. Either way, Payne had himself a great combine and Dallas should have taken notice.
Taven Bryan was a little off the radar at 19, but he might have jumped back onto it with a stellar combine. NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock mentioned Bryan was generating some buzz and he was right; the Florida prospect ran a 4.98 40 and showed off his explosiveness with a 1.68 10-yard split, 35-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-11-inch broad jump. The Cowboys might want to think long and hard if some of their other options are gone and Bryan is sitting there at 19.
Another name who might not have been an option until this weekend is Boston College pass rusher, Harold Landry. It was an injury-plagued season for Landry on 2017, but his 2016 season was outstanding and he showed those elite edge rusher traits at the combine. Landry had a 36-inch vertical, a 9-feet-11-inch broad jump and a 10-yard split of 1.59. He’s shown on tape that he can bend coming around the corner and has a knack for getting after the quarterback, Landry should now be on the radar for the Cowboys in the first round.
Of course, there were others who impressed, like the inspirational Shaquem Griffin, but he’s probably a mid-round pick.
The Dallas Cowboys got a good look at a lot of players who could come in and immediately help this team over the weekend, and we haven’t even gotten to the defensive backs like Derwin James yet. There will be no shortage of great players to choose from at 19 and some stated their case at the combine.
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