The Cowboys didn’t have a first-round choice, having traded it to the Raiders as part of the deal for Amari Cooper. They will make their first selection at No. 58 tonight.
The Cowboys don’t hide their interest. Only once since 2005 have the Cowboys drafted a player with their first choice who didn’t visit team headquarters. That was an unexpected trade up for Morris Claiborne in 2012.
Safeties Taylor Rapp (pictured), Juan Thornhill and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson were among Dallas’ 30 national visitors, as were pass rusher Jaylon Ferguson, running back Damien Harris, receiver Deebo Samuel and offensive tackle Greg Little.
It is likely the Cowboys draft a player who was among their pre-draft visitors.
“I think there’s a pretty good chance that could happen,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “There’s a handful of guys we like that have a chance to be there.”
It seems a good bet the Cowboys will draft a safety, especially if Rapp, who played at Washington, and/or Thornhill, who played at Virginia, are there when Dallas selects. It is the most pressing need for the Cowboys, and, after the first round, appears to be falling their way with most top prospects at the position still undrafted.
Dallas did not get involved in the sweepstakes for free agent safety Earl Thomas, and though it signed veteran George Iloka, the team would like a strong safety to start opposite Xavier Woods. Woods, a sixth-round pick in 2017, has become “even better than we thought he’d be,” Jones said.
“In a perfect world probably a strong safety is the best fit [to pair with Woods],” Jones said.