As Dallas Cowboys GM and Owner Jerry Jones and Head Coach Jason Garrett prepare for the 2012 NFL Draft on April 26th, the vast majority of fans are focused on the results from the NFL Combine, the recently updated and constantly growing Mock Drafts, but many forget about the annual “Dallas Day” held for local prospects. The Dallas Day allows the Cowboys Coaches and Executives to meet with players who have ties to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Dallas Day is scheduled to be held on April 5-6 this year.
The Cowboys official day for national prospects is limited by league rules to a maximum of 30 players. League rules do not allow these prospects to engage in a workout for the Cowboys, it is simply a meet-and-greet session.
The number of ‘local’ players that can participate in the Dallas Day is unlimited.
How is ” ties to the local area” defined by the NFL? First, it is a geographical area. Specifically, it is the body of land known as the Dallas-Fort Worth region as found on page 97 of the 2011 Rand McNally Road Atlas. This area extends to Prosper in the north, Princeton in the east, Santuary in the west, and Glenn Heights in the south. A player is considered to have “ties” to that area if he attended high school or college in the area, or if his parents live in the designated area.
A quick perusal of the Dallas Cowboys roster, currently and in the past, illustrates that the annual Dallas Day has been an effective tool in helping the Cowboys Scouting department identify players that can help the team. Current Cowboys Bryan McCann and Dez Bryant have both attended Dallas Days in the past, as did Patrick Crayton, and Jacques Reeves. Although less successful in the NFL, Stephen Hodge and Brandon Williams attended Dallas Days and were eventually drafted by the Cowboys.
The Cowboys have not yet released a full list of players invited to attend this year’s Dallas Day (and it appears that in some years they don’t publish a full list prior to the annual Dallas Day).
However, some of the players who will attend the Dallas Day before the Draft in April have been publicised. Two LB’s from UT plan on attending: Emmanuel Acho (St. Mark’s) and Keenan Robinson (Plano East).
Acho had a torn quadricep, so he did not participate in UT’s Pro Day. Acho has some versatility: he played 7 games as the Mike LB and 4 games as the Sam. Most projections have Acho being selected in the 5th round. For a complete scouting report, click here.
Robinson ran a 4.7 in the 40, had a 10 foot 5 inch broad jump, and an impressive 36.5 inches in the vertical. Robinson is projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round. For a complete scouting report click here.
Over the next couple days, we will likely to continue to get updates about who is attending the Dallas Day this year. So far, the following players have received invitations to attend Dallas Day:
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M. At 6-4 and 223 lbs, Fuller certainly has the size teams want in a WR. He had 72 catches for 1,066 yards as a Senior, earning his First Team All-Big 12 honors. You can read the full scouting report on Fuller here.
Tank Carder, LB, TCU. In addition to being a huge part of TCU’s vaunted defense, Carder’s path to elite college football is one of the best sports stories you will read leading into the draft. Tank was seriously injured in an automobile accident as a child. They thought he would never be able walk. He was the kicker for his high school football team because his doctors forbid him to engage in physical contact, but he still wanted to be part of the football team. Tank truly exemplifies the qualities you hear Garrett espouse when he is explaining his commitment to building a team of the “Right Kind of Guys.” If Carder ends up playing for the Cowboys, expect his jersey sales to rival players picked much before him in the draft. You can read the full scouting report on Tank here.
Ron Brooks, CB, LSU. Brooks played 5 seasons for one of the best defenses in the country. Although he didn’t start at LSU, he played behind Patrick Peterson (the 5th overall pick in the 2011 Draft), Morris Claiborne (the best CB in this year’s draft), and Tyrann Mathieu (SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and Heisman finalist). You can read the full scouting report on Brooks here.
Nathan Dick, QB, Central Arkansas. You can read the full scouting report here.
The Dallas Cowboys focus on defense is apparent from even a cursory review of these prospects. Other than Dick and Fuller, all of the other players are LB’s or CB’s. Jerry Jones was quoted this week as saying that they would prefer not to go OL in the 1st round. Some of us have been arguing, since the first set of Mock Drafts, that the Cowboys would have little interest in a OG with the 14th pick, whether it was David DeCastro or anyone else. It is widely expected that the Cowboys will be focused on the defense with their first couple picks, but it is starting to look like the Cowboys may be looking to add depth at LB and CB in the later rounds as well.