NFL Draft Prospects Cowboys Must Target After 2024 Shrine, Senior Bowls
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Notre Dame CB Cam HartMichael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Once again, the Dallas Cowboys enter the offseason looking to reload after a disappointing playoff run. Dallas played well in the regular season, earning the NFC’s No. 2 seed, but it fell to the Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys aren’t in a position to simply throw money at their biggest needs. Facing a projected $14.3 million cap deficit, Dallas will have to do a lot of its work in the draft—and not just in the early rounds.
The good news is that the 2024 draft class is both deep and talented. The Cowboys and other NFL teams got an early look at some potential draft values this past week at the East-West Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl.
Here, we’ll dive into some standouts from the exhibition contests who should be on the Cowboys’ radar heading into the NFL scouting combine.
Ray Davis, RB, Kentucky
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Kentucky RB Ray DavisMichael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Even if the Cowboys retain Tony Pollard, who played on the franchise tag in 2023, they could use help at running back. Dallas ranked just 20th in yards per carry, and they were far too often one-dimensional on offense.
Dallas doesn’t necessarily have to swing at the position early, though, as teams frequently uncover starting-caliber backs later in the draft. Following a strong week of Senior Bowl practices, Kentucky’s Ray Davis is a prospect Dallas must track.
“Davis continued to prove he’s more than just a bowling ball of a back,” Derrik Klassen of the Bleacher Report Scouting Department wrote. “…Davis made a
tough shoelace grab at the goal line during red-zone drills. The catch
was a nice finish to Davis’ week and confirmed what’s been true on film
all year: He’s a good pass-catcher.”
The 5’8″, 220-pound Davis is a compact runner who can get tough yards between the tackles. In Mobile, though, he also showed that he can be a playmaker in the receiving game.
Davis tallied 1,452 scrimmage yards this past season while averaging 5.7 yards per carry and scoring 21 touchdowns. He was the 104th-ranked prospect on the B/R Scouting Department’s January draft board, and he’s worth a long look from the Cowboys on Day 2.
Myles Murphy, DT, North Carolina
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North Carolina DL Myles MurphyGrant Halverson/Getty Images
Though Dallas used a first-round pick on Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith in last year’s draft, it should be interested in continuing to bolster its defensive front. Run defense was a problem in 2023—the Cowboys ranked 15th in yards per carry allowed—end especially during the loss to Green Bay.
Against Dallas, Packers running back Aaron Jones averaged 5.6 yards per carry and found the end zone three times.
North Carolina defensive tackle Myles Murphy isn’t likely to go anywhere near the first round. However, the 6’3″, 305-pound defender could be a steal in the later rounds. This past season he recorded 24 tackles, 15 solo stops, 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
During the Shrine Bowl, Murphy showed that he can shine against future NFL talent.
“While cornerback Jarius Monroe was the game’s Defensive MVP after securing an interception, Murphy was the West’s best defender,” NFL Media’s Chad Reuter wrote. “…He challenged linemen throughout the rest of the game, winning gaps with quickness off the ball and forcing double-teams to prevent him from making plays.”
Snagging Murphy late in the draft would be a huge win for Dallas’ defense.
Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame
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Notre Dame CB Cam HartBrandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images
Even with star corner Trevon Diggs on injured reserve (torn ACL), Dallas’ secondary was a team strength in 2023. The Cowboys ranked fifth in passing yards allowed and seventh in net yards per attempt surrendered.
However, the Cowboys could also lose cornerback Stephon Gilmore in free agency. The position may not represent Dallas’ top priority, but finding cornerback depth will be extremely important.
The Cowboys should already have an eye on Notre Dame prospect Cam Hart, the 72nd-ranked prospect on the B/R board. At 6’3″ and 204 pounds, Hart has the size and length needed to be a disruptive defensive back on the perimeter.
Hart flashed these skills during Senior Bowl practices.
to show what he does best,” Cory Giddings of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. “His length and physicality provide
highlight-caliber reps. When he gets hands on wide receivers in press,
he’s able to disrupt and control them down the field.”
While Hart’s length and play strength are immediately noticeable, he also has strong movement and ball skills—he had 15 pass breakups over his last three collegiate seasons.
With Dan Quinn taking the Washington Commanders’ head coaching job, Dallas will have a new defensive coordinator in 2024. However, this shouldn’t change the team’s emphasis on reliable cornerback play. Hart is a prospect in whom the Cowboys should be very interested.