The first day of on-field workouts in Indianapolis for the 2017 NFL Combine is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys were front and center to watch the top offensive linemen and running back prospects. Dallas undoubtedly has a need at right tackle with both recent rumors of Doug Free pondering retirement and the unreliable availability of swing tackle Chaz Green. At running back, the Cowboys are likely to spend a late round pick on a player similar to Lance Dunbar, who can offer both third down and special teams skills. With that being said, here are some of the players that impressed on Friday who could be on the Dallas Cowboys’ radar.
Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
– In my opinion, Taylor Moton was the offensive lineman that helped himself the most in the on-field workouts. He had a better vertical jump than Leonard Fournette and was even with Dalvin Cook at 30.5 inches. In the 40-yard dash, he checked off the box with an official time of 5.18 seconds. As for the drills portion of the workout, Moton crushed it. He showed uncanny movement skills for someone 319 lbs., and it shows on film as well. The Western Michigan senior has now impressed in both Mobile and Indianapolis leading up to the draft as a player who can play inside and out at tackle or guard. For the Dallas Cowboys, he makes a ton of sense as a right tackle, and I have a feeling he would be in strong consideration for the 60th overall pick if available.
Dion Dawkins, OL, Temple
– Another offensive lineman that really improved his stock in Indianapolis on Friday morning was Temple’s Dion Dawkins. Many have him pegged as a guard in the NFL, but he played at both left and right tackle in his career for the Owls. Dawkins is a player that could conceivably play both tackle and guard spots in the NFL, making him especially valuable as a potential swing guy in the NFL. His performance today checked off the boxes, and he could be a target for the Cowboys in the third round.
Chad Wheeler, OT, USC
– The first two offensive linemen on this list are players that will go off the board in the top 100 picks, if not the top 60, but USC’s Chad Wheeler is likely going to have to wait until the third day for his name to be called. I thought he would test a lot better than what he did on Friday morning, but that does not change the fact that his tape is fairly solid. He shows good movement skills and footwork, but lacks the overall play strength to be a starting caliber player at the next level. His ceiling is most likely as a swing tackle in the NFL, and he fits the “right kind of guy” mentality for this team. If Wheeler is available in the sixth or seventh round, his name could be in the mix.
Tarik Cohen, RB, NC A&T
– The human joystick. This is the nickname given to NC A&T running back/offensive weapon Tarik Cohen. He’s going to receive a lot of Darren Sproles connections because of his size, which is something I would initially dismiss as a lazy comparison, but his playmaking ability is unique. While Cohen had over 1,000 rushing yards for all four years of his college career, he has little experience as a punt or kick returner, which is something he’s going to have to do at the next level. His fit as an upgrade over Lance Dunbar makes sense if available in the sixth round, and I’d love to see how Linehan would utilize his playmaking ability on offense.
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
– Donnel Pumphrey is the most productive running back in FBS history if you look at the numbers, as he owns the career rushing record with 6,405 yards. He’s only 5’8, 176 lbs. though, and he would need to assert himself on special teams to take over Lance Dunbar’s role. His footwork and COD skills are incredible, but his fundamentals as a receiver are what makes him so intriguing as a prospect. Pumphrey is going to make a team really happy as a chess piece on offense when they select him in the fifth or sixth round.
Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple
– Jahad Thomas is another running back that could take over the third down role for the Dallas Cowboys, but I also believe he can serve as a change-of-pace back as well. He measured in at 5’10, 190 lbs., but he doesn’t back down from any challenge with his competitive toughness. Unlike Cohen and Pumphrey, Thomas has legitimate experience as a return man. With his creativity as a playmaker, receiver and runner, Linehan would have a field day working him into the offense. He fits exactly what the Cowboys are looking for in a young upgrade over Lance Dunbar.