NFL Dallas Cowboys

Five Prospects the Dallas Cowboys Could Target Late in the 2013 Draft

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NFL Draft

James Lang USA-Today Sports
James Lang USA-Today Sports

The Dallas Cowboys find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

The Cowboys are currently about $7 million over the salary cap after franchise tagging defensive end Anthony Spencer. The team has to get under the league mandated $123 million, or for all intents and purposes the NFL will not let the team continue with football operations in 2013.

In order to get under the salary cap, the Cowboys will probably have to restructure more contracts, which is fine right now, but will ultimately end up costing the team down the road.

Aside from restructuring contracts, the Cowboys have also been getting ready for the 2013 NFL Draft. It’s one of my favorite times of the year because scouts and general managers are dissecting NFL Combine numbers and ranking players on their big boards trying to find the “next big thing.”

Unfortunately, the cash-strapped Cowboys won’t be able to dip into the free agent pool and spend as lavishly as other teams will, which is why they must add quality and depth through the draft.

I have praised head coach Jason Garrett’s evaluation process and eye for talent in his recent drafts. He’s putting a team together, which has seen success in drafting and developing that talent as of late. He, along with the scouting department, has been able to find quality players in the later rounds of the draft. That is a trend I hope they continue because the team only has 6 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.

I have put my general manager cap on and devised a list of five prospects that could come in and fill a void or contribute almost immediately. These young men aren’t your everyday household names, but they may ultimately be that that diamond in the rough.

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Matt Scott, Quarterback, Arizona

Mark J. Rebilas USA-Today Sports
Mark J. Rebilas USA-Today Sports

Speaking of the diamond in the rough, not a lot of people knew or had even heard about Scott, until his Pro Day where the 6’2” 215 pound quarterback, dazzled scouts with his arm strength, mobility and endurance. Teams looking for that dual threat quarterback have definitely taken notice, given the success enjoyed by Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.

In 2012, Scott threw for 3,620 yards, 27 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and added 506 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The Cowboys could select Scott and try to develop him to ultimately become Tony Romo’s successor.

Projection: Fifth Round

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Danny Mason, Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Mason was a two-time first team All-Lone Star Conference selection and was named the 2012 LSC Linebacker of the Year after leading the conference in tackles per game (11.5) and ranking third nationally after tallying up 115 stops, including 11.5 for loss and four sacks. Mason displayed his versatility at the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game where he had three tackles and a pass breakup in the fourth quarter.

Scouts raved about Mason sideline-to-sideline range and how natural he is when attacking the ball carrier, referring to him as “a heat-seeking missile”. At 6’3” 235 pounds; he appears better suited to play the Will backer spot in a 4-3 defense, but he could easily add more weight and play any of the three backer spots.

Projection: Seventh Round – Undrafted Free Agent

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Chris Jones, Defensive Tackle, Bowling Green

Peter Casey USA-Today Sports
Peter Casey USA-Today Sports

Jones received First Team All-MAC honors, Associated Press Third Team All-American honors and was named the MAC defensive player of the year in 2012. He started all 13 games for Bowling Green and recorded 42 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He finished ranked third in the country in sacks and tied for seventh in tackles for loss.

No need to beat a dead horse here, the Cowboys need depth along the defensive line and Jones could easily come in and be a part of the defensive rotation.

Projection: Fifth Round

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Brian Winters, Offensive Tackle, Kent State

Howard Smith USA-Today Sports
Howard Smith USA-Today Sports

Winters played offensive tackle at Kent State, but will probably end up playing guard at the next level. Scouts like that this 6’4” 320 pound prospect has a wrestling background because they say that wrestling helps with hand placement and controlling the opponent.

Scouts raved about his strength and explosiveness off the snap in both run and pass blocking, however, he didn’t exactly amaze anyone at the NFL combine. Despite less than stellar results, some scouts believe that he can be a solid starter at guard in a power run system or tackle in a zone-blocking system.

Projection: Fourth Round

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Armonty Bryant, Defensive End, East Central University (Oklahoma)

Matthew Taylor ECU
Matthew Taylor ECU

Bryant’s stock should be a lot higher than it is; however, due to a drug suspension he missed three games and that has scared a lot of general managers and scouts away. He is one of the best pass rushers in the draft, which has gained him comparisons to DeMarcus Ware, and at 6’5” 265 pounds with a wingspan of over 85 inches it’s easy to see why.

Bryant was named the Lone Star Conference North Defensive Lineman of the year in 2010 and was a first team All-Great American Conference selection in 2011. His final season he managed to get 54 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two blocked kicks despite only playing in eight games.

Projection: Sixth Round

Jesus Flores is a Dallas Cowboys writer for Follow him on Twitter @SSgtFlo1