5 Late-Round NFL Draft Prospects Perfectly Suited for the Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have 11 draft selections overall this year, six of which are in the seventh round. Dallas has more than a few needs to fill before next season, with many falling on the defensive side of the ball.
Expect the team to invest these later-round picks on defensive depth. For that reason, this list compiles five guys who the 'Boys could target in Round 5 to Round 7.
Dallas seems to be taking a different approach in free agency, and that mindset could translate into heavy investment in this year's draft. Here are some late-round fliers that could pay dividends down the road for the Cowboys.
OLB Denicos Allen, Michigan State
After receiving three compensatory picks from the NFL, the Cowboys now have six seventh-round picks. Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen is a projected seventh-rounder who could give Dallas some nice depth.
Both starting linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter have missed time the last two seasons due to injuries. The Cowboys have learned the hard way that they need to invest in some depth at this crucial position.
Allen would bring some cheap depth to the team and at 5'11", 218 pounds, Dallas could mold him into a new position if it wanted. With his impressive ability to close in on the ball-carrier and pick the right angles in run defense, he could be a fun project for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Considering Dallas needs help all along the defensive unit, a project pick might be smart for the team that late in the draft.
The Cowboys have plenty of picks to play with in the last round, and spending one of them on Allen could pay off a few years down the road.
CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
The Cowboys have invested heavily in recent years in their secondary, but that did not pay off in 2013. Dallas finished No. 30 against the pass last season.
It's unlikely that the team will invest early in a cornerback, especially with safety being the bigger secondary concern. In the last few rounds, though, don't be surprised to hear a cornerback called.
Aaron Colvin could be gone before the Cowboys have their six picks in the seventh round, but they can easily grab, say, a sixth-round pick via trade.
The first thing that likely comes to most scouts' minds about Colvin is his toughness. He is great at getting in a wide receiver's face and rushing to the ball-carrier on running plays. There are more than a few times as a Sooner he got aggressive and guessed wrong in pass coverage, but that is something that can be fixed over time.
Colvin would add depth to the Dallas cornerback corps that gets a little shaky after Orlando Scandrick on the depth chart. Plus, it's hard to believe Marinelli wouldn't like having a tough, aggressive player in his secondary.
DE Taylor Hart, Oregon
At 6'6", 281 pounds, Taylor Hart has the kind of build any team wants in a defensive end. As all Cowboys fans know, their team is in a bit of a state of flux at the position.
Former starters DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer no longer receive their paychecks from Jerry Jones. George Selvie stepped up big in the wake of Spencer's season-ending injury, but the team needs young blood and depth at the position.
Hart has more than just a great frame; he fires out once the ball is snapped and has a clear knowledge for reading plays. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller currently has Hart listed as a seventh-round pick, and there's no reason for Dallas not to take him then.
The former Oregon Duck has more potential than a lot of guys that will be available in the draft's final round. Dallas will surely take a DE early on at Radio City Music Hall, but Hart can help fill out that depth chart.
DT Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State
Another projected seventh-rounder on this list, Calvin Barnett, could join a growing list of former Oklahoma State players in Dallas.
Barnett plays a position the Cowboys desperately need young depth at in defensive tackle. Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher are not walking out of the home tunnel at AT&T Stadium anymore.
Barnett stands at 6'2" and 300 pounds. His frame alone makes him difficult for offensive linemen to clear out in the trenches. The former Cowboy posted 32 tackles and three sacks for his team during his senior season. The Associated Press named him a first-team All Big-12 defensive lineman for his stout final year.
The seventh round is in many ways a glorified lottery. It's hard to tell which players are going to become the next Ratliffs and which are going to not make it out of training camp.
Barnett is as good a pick as any for Dallas in the last round. He also plays a position the teams needs some depth at.
QB David Fales, San Jose State
San Jose State is not exactly one of California's best-known football schools, but David Fales has certainly gained the program some attention.
CBS Sports currently has the former Spartan listed as a fifth-round selection in this year's NFL draft. Miller also believes that round is where Fales will hear his name called. He projects that the Cowboys will be the ones calling his name at the podium.
With Tony Romo turning 34 years old this April, in addition to his two recent back surgeries, it makes sense for Dallas to invest in his successor. It wouldn't hurt the organization to invest a higher-round pick in a QB, but if Jerry Jones and Co. want to wait, Fales is probably the way to go at the position.
Fales has an excellent dropback and mechanics, but he isn't terribly mobile in the pocket. He is not known for his rocket of an arm either. These are two major reasons why Fales is a mid-late round pick.
All things considered, though, he needs a little coaching in the basics it takes to be a starting NFL quarterback. Dallas head coach Jason Garrett is also a former quarterback and quarterbacks coach.
Fales would be a project, but Garrett could end up turning him into a solid pro quarterback, which would be the ideal scenario for Dallas.