2017 NFL Draft

Cowboys' private visits offer clues to their first round plans

Cowboys' private visits offer clues to their first round plans

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
Since 2006, the Dallas Cowboys have invited each one of their first round picks to their facility as one of 30 pre-draft visits allowed by the NFL. Knowing this to be true, what can we glean from the players Dallas brought in this year? Maybe more than you'd think.

Though the Cowboys did not pick until the third round of the 2009 draft, the team has used six first round picks since 2006. Those players -- OT Tyron Smith, WR Dez Bryant, RB Felix Jones, CB Mike Jenkins, OLB Anthony Spencer and OLB Bobby Carpenter -- were each invited to tour Dallas' facility.

So who does Dallas appear to be interested in this year? Well, despite what you may have read the team did not invite Memphis DT Dontari Poe, Stanford OG David DeCastro or Stanford TE Coby Fleener to the facility. League sources have linked each of the three over the past few weeks to the Cowboys.

Among the players who have visited Dallas to meet with the Cowboys' top brass, however, include six stars from the SEC: a trio of players from Alabama (S Mark Barron, CB 'Dre Kirkpatrick, OLB Courtney Upshaw), as well as Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox, South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore and Georgia OL Cordy Glenn.

The vast majority of the other players brought in were lower level and local standouts.

Do the Cowboys plan to use the No. 14 overall pick on an SEC star? It certainly would appear so.

While evaluation off of player tape remains far and away the most important element of the grading process, many teams believe in the process of the "meet and greet" with their first round picks. This isn't just to meet with the head coach, positional coach and general manager. Some teams invite players to their facilities in an effort to watch the prospects mingle with the other, lesser-known team employees, such as the public relations department, security staff and even office managers.

"The point is to make sure that these [prospects] are good people..." one high-ranking team official explained. "We want to make sure they're quality people that the rest of us would like to be around - not just when the head coach is in the room but when it is someone they've never seen on TV before. If they can't treat themselves and others in our building with respect, how can we expect them to act with any real civility in public?"
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