Dallas Cowboys: 5 Small-school draft prospects you need to know

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Is Tulsa University considered a small school program? Compared to the likes of Georgia and Clemson, yes. But the Dallas Cowboys clearly has some prior (positive) experience drafting from this program. Tyler Smith has been the A+ pick so far in his career the Cowboys were hoping for. For Dallas, why not go back to the well a second time. Deneric Prince could be a legitimate player for Dallas in the mid-to-later rounds in the draft.

I’ve read where Cowboys fans didn’t like the idea of Dallas picking a running back anywhere prior to the fifth round. Well, there is a solution to that dilemma. This is one of the deeper drafts at the running back position so it shouldn’t cause too much heartburn to wait in the later rounds to add to that running back room.

Deneric Prince started his career at Texas A&M where he played his first two seasons. Typically, when players go from the bigger programs to smaller schools, it’s in an effort to get on the field. For me, it at least gives the indication that the prospect had the goods coming out of high school to get the bigger programs attention.

There’s a lot to like with this prospect. Prince fits the Cowboys physical profile almost exactly. He is 6’0″ 216lbs. That’s impressive but what was more impressive was the athletic testing. 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, 1.53 in the 10-yard split, 35.5″ vertical and 10’4″ broad jump. I’m confident those numbers will at least get you on a team’s radar. He runs with that upright style similar to Tony Pollard but make no mistake about it this kid has the juice.

The competition wasn’t fierce, but it didn’t stop the Dallas from selecting their left tackle last year. It definitely wouldn’t stop me from grabbing a running back at the right value spot. Running backs are the easiest position to insert into a lineup so I wouldn’t lose sleep with investing in this player. He didn’t offer much in the way of the passing game so that may be a drawback for this team.

Last season, he missed his first four games for some undisclosed reason. With that, it doesn’t appear that it was injury related which is positive to some degree. His running style looks like it would be conducive to a zone blocking scheme but with his speed and explosiveness, running in a more traditional gap scheme wouldn’t hinder his effectiveness.

Draft a player like this in the 5th to 7th round. Allow him to compete with Malik Davis, Rico Dowdle and Ronald Jones. If he needs a year, stash on the practice squad and look for that return on investment in year two. Very easy formula for the Dallas Cowboys.