IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) — There are going to be a lot of future first round picks walking around Valley Ranch this week.
The Cowboys can bring in 30 of the top prospects to meet with while they decide who to target with pick #16 in the draft, and the guys that they bring in offer pretty good clues as to the direction they want to go.
The list of 30 is never released by the team, but of course some names work their way out through various sources. Compiling information from Charean Williams and Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram — and from my own super secret sources at the ranch — here’s the names of some of the guys we hear will be stopping by:
Aaron Donald – DT – Pitt
Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri
Anthony Barr – LB – UCLA (Note: Cowboys are looking at him as a possible DE)
Demarcus Lawrence – DE – Boise State
Timmy Jernigan – DT – Florida State
Ryan Shazier – LB – Ohio State
Davon Coleman – DE – Arizona State
Jimmie Ward – S – N. Illinois
It will be important to focus on these guys because only twice in the last nine years have the Cowboys picked someone in the first round that didn’t come visit before the draft.
The only surprise I see (and was happy to be surprised) is Timmy Jernigan. It’s no secret to people familiar with my draft followings that I’m a big fan of Jernigan, but we’ve been told by Jerry and Stephen Jones that the “1 technique” defensive tackle isn’t something they necessarily value as a first round pick. A couple observations based on the fact Jernigan IS on the visit list.
1) You don’t waste visits. Playing poker, throwing up smokescreens before the draft — those things are fun. You can’t trust a lot of what some guys say leading up to the draft. However, you only get 30 visits; I don’t think the Cowboys would throw one away. There’s interest in the possibility of taking Jernigan clearly.
2) They may view him as a guy who isn’t pigeon holed into that “1 technique” role. Just to back up a second for anyone unfamiliar with the terms, the 1 technique is your DT that is lined up between the offensive center and guard. You are expecting him to be double teamed a lot. He has to be able to stand up to that and not get pushed around. The 3 technique is the other DT, the guy who lines up across from the opposite side OG.
The Cowboys may see Jernigan as a guy that can play both spots, and I wouldn’t disagree with that if they do.
Part of the reason some teams don’t covet that “1 technique” guy as a first round pick is a lot of those guys aren’t pass rushers — meaning in passing situations you pull that guy off in favor of another DE or 3 tech-type DT to get after the QB. I don’t think you have to bring Jernigan off the field in that spot. He played a more reactionary role at Florida State but possesses the quickness and strength to be disruptive against the run and pass.
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