Cowboys Among Contenders Eyeing Possible Draft Steal

The Dallas Cowboys are one of several NFL contenders looking at an intriguing draft prospect who could end up becoming a steal.
Nov 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy against the
Nov 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy against the / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys will head into the 2024 NFL draft with many pressing needs to address. One is the offensive line, which saw lynchpin starters in Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz walk in free agency with no strong replacements signed to fill their shoes.

As a result, Dallas should consider any prospect who could help this team. And it turns out one potential diamond in the rough is on the Cowboys' radar.

Dallas is one of several contenders who's gotten an up-close look at unique prospect Giovanni Manu, according to Bleacher Report's Jordan Schultz. Teams like the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cleveland Browns have hosted Manu for visits as well, showing strong interest from some of the NFL's top squads.

Manu could be the next player who takes an unexpected path to the pros and excels. He was born in Tonga -- a Polynesian kingdom part of the Oceania region -- before moving to Canada, where he eventually grew into a budding sports star.

Once deemed "Baby Shaq," Tonga was a basketball standout before ultimately transitioning to football with his massive 6-foot-7, 352-pound frame. Tonga played both guard positions at the University of British Columbia and then suited up at left tackle during the 2023 campaign.

He's much more than just a big presence, however. At his pro day, Tonga reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.96 seconds, which would've ranked among the top three times at this year's combine. Meanwhile, he also recorded a 33.5-inch vertical leap and racked up 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press drill.

Tonga's rare blend of size and athleticism makes him a very intriguing prospect. Although, given his non-traditional background, teams may be wary of investing any type of draft capital into him.

That trepidation could lead to the Cowboys' gain. Tonga has the physical skills to make an impact at the next level, and experience is something he'll develop just by being on an NFL roster.

Just look at the rival Philadelphia Eagles, who took a chance on former rugby player Jordan Mailata in the seventh round of the 2018 draft and have reaped the benefits ever since. The potential reward of spending a Day 3 pick on Tonga and seeing what he can really do severely outweighs the risk of him not panning out.

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