Breaking Down the Most Important Pro Days for Dallas Cowboys

Jonathan Bales@thecowboystimesAnalyst IMarch 19, 2014

Breaking Down the Most Important Pro Days for Dallas Cowboys

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys will use the NFL Pro Days as another chance to meet with potential draft picks and collect additional data on their skill sets. 

    One of the things the Cowboys, and all teams, need to be wary of in regards to pro days is that they aren't standardized. Unlike the NFL Scouting Combine, at which all prospects do the same drills under the same circumstances, pro days come with different variables: different surfaces, weather, drills, and so on. For that reason, combine numbers should typically be trusted over pro day numbers.

    When players don't participate at the combine, however, the pro days have a lot more value. Similarly, if a player posts conflicting results, such as times of 4.45 and 4.60 in the 40-yard dash, it's a sign that his pro day numbers could be more useful.

    Ultimately, pro days are about finishing up the scouting process to make sure nothing was missed. Here are the five most important remaining pro days for Dallas.

Stanford: March 20

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Players of Note

    DE Trent Murphy

    OG David Yankey

    FS Ed Reynolds

    ILB Shayne Skov

    OT Cameron Fleming

    DE Josh Mauro

    RB Tyler Gaffney

    The Stanford pro day, which takes place on Thursday, March 20, is going to be a popular one across the league. Both defensive end Trent Murphy and guard David Yankey should get selected within the first two rounds.

    If you look at the top players Stanford has to offer in 2014, they match up well with the Cowboys' needs. All seven of the players listed above could realistically come to Dallas. 

    Defensive end Josh Mauro in particular has a lot to prove. He needs to check in faster than the 5.21 time he posted in the 40-yard dash at the combine.

Notre Dame: March 20

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Players of Note

    OT Zack Martin

    DT Louis Nix

    DT Stephon Tuitt (likely won't participate)

    TE Troy Niklas

    WR TJ Jones

    When the Cowboys signed defensive tackle Henry Melton, it gave them a lot of flexibility in the first round of this draft. While they'd probably still like to go defense, don't discount the possibility of them jumping on an offensive player who falls.

    If offensive tackle Zack Martin is that player, Dallas could draft its replacement for right tackle Doug Free. The probability of Martin falling to the mid-first is low, but certainly non-zero.

    Defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt might interest Dallas in the second round, but he's still nursing an injury and likely won't participate in Notre Dame's pro day. If the Cowboys like Tuitt, that could end up working out in their favor, as they'd be buying low on a player who would probably be a starter from Day 1.

Vanderbilt: March 21

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Players of Note

    WR Jordan Matthews

    FS Kenny Ladler

    CB Andre Hal

    There's a much better chance that the Cowboys select a wide receiver early in this draft than most people believe. If they trade down in the first round, that possibility will skyrocket because they'll have more picks with which to work.

    Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews is a really intriguing player who dominated in college. Matthews had at least 94 receptions, 1,323 yards, and seven touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. At 6'3", 212 pounds, Matthews ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the combine.

    That sort of speed could catapult Matthews into the first round, but there's still a chance he'll slip into the mid-second. If he's there, the pick should be a no-brainer for Dallas. Matthews' 4.46 speed is plenty fast enough, though, so any team who likes Matthews should actually root against him to check in faster at his pro day. If Matthews runs, say, a 4.41, he shouldn't really move up boards, but there'd be almost no possibility of him falling to Dallas.

Penn State: April 8

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Players of Note

    WR Allen Robinson

    DT DaQuan Jones

    OG John Urschel

    Like Jordan Matthews, Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson was impressive at the combine. Unlike Matthews, however, not many people recognized Robinson's great day. He ran just a 4.60 in the 40-yard dash, so most assumed Robinson's stock might have fallen. That's not a horrible time at 6'2", 220 pounds, though, and Robinson's ridiculous 10'6" broad jump showed he has plenty of explosiveness.

    Robinson will be on the Cowboys' radar if he falls into the second round. You'd like to see him improve the 40-yard dash just a bit, into the 4.55 range, perhaps, but not so much that he's not available in the middle of the second round. Remember, it's been size, not speed, that has historically best predicted wide receiver success.

LSU: April 9

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Players of Note

    WR Odell Beckham Jr.

    RB Jeremy Hill

    WR Jarvis Landry

    DT Ego Ferguson

    DT Anthony Johnson

    QB Zach Mettenberger

    S Craig Loston

    ILB Lamin Barrow

    The LSU pro day is always a show. There are so many talented prospects from the school who will get selected this year, although most are probably not going to be on the Cowboys' radar. It's unlikely the team will land wide receiver Odell Beckham, running back Jeremy Hill or quarterback Zach Mettenberger, for example.

    LSU has two defensive tackles projected to go in the middle rounds who the Cowboys might like, though: Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson. Of the two, Johnson is the better fit with Dallas. He's a 6'2", 308-pound defensive tackle who didn't get much playing time at LSU but still racked up 13 tackles for loss.