2024 NFL Draft Day 3 grades for the Dallas Cowboys

Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft was a long one for those of us watching and waiting to see who the Dallas Cowboys would select with each of their four picks. Waiting for their fifth-round pick to finally arrive and get things going was excruciating. They stood pat with each one of their draft picks and made some interesting and possibly questionable selections.

Surprisingly enough, not one of their four draft picks on Day 3 was a running back to replace Tony Pollard, who decided to exit via free agency to join the Tennessee Titans. The players they did choose to draft though were met with some excitement and confusion around Cowboys Nation.

Overall, it looks as if the Cowboys draft haul on Day 3 will get some mixed reviews. Here’s how we graded each of the selections.

Round 5, Pick 174 – CB Caelen Carson, Wake Forest

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 28 Florida State at Wake Forest

Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Having to sit through the entire fourth round and nearly all of the fifth on Day 3 was agonizing, but the selection they made may have been worth it. The CB out of Wake Forest, Caelen Carson, has starting potential and will bring some much-needed depth and versatility to Dallas’ secondary.

Carson was a four-year starter at Wake Forest, starting 34 out of a possible 36 games. He had some nagging injuries throughout his career he’ll need to overcome to become a reliable player at the next level, but is inside/out versatility with starting upside is exactly what the Cowboys need behind Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland, and Jourdan Lewis.

As a rookie, Carson could immediately compete to become the Cowboys CB4 while also serving as a key special teams contributor. He was Dane Brugler’s 13th ranked cornerback in the 2024 draft class, carrying a 3rd-4th round grade. He could be yet another late-round hidden gem selected by Will McClay and the Cowboys scouting department like DaRon Bland.

Dane Brugler on Caelen Carson:

Carson needs to prove he can stay healthy and be on the field for a full season, but he has the competitive athleticism and football IQ needed for coverage duties in the NFL. He offers inside-outside versatility and projects as an eventual NFL starter.

Round 6, Pick 216 – WR Ryan Flournoy, SE Missouri State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Southeast Missouri at Kansas State

Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


With the 216th overall pick in the sixth round, the Cowboys decided to add more depth to their wide receiver room with the selection of Ryan Flourney out of SE Missouri State. The 6’1″, 205-pound WR is an older player (24), but is an incredible athlete. He has an intriguing skill set and intangibles worth developing.

As a rookie, Flournoy will have to make his bones as a special teams player if he wants to earn a roster spot with the Cowboys in 2024, and even that might not be enough. The Cowboys have some solid depth ahead of him on the depth chart and could look to add another veteran post-draft or via the waiver. He will really have to show out.

At this point in the draft Flournoy is worth taking a late-round flyer on. He has the size/speed combo and athletic profile to become a prototypical outside WR at the next level, but must continue to improve his craft in nearly every area of his game if he wants to stick around. Dane Brugler gave him a sixth-round grade.

Dane Brugler on Ryan Flournoy:

Flournoy is more is more athletic than skilled as a route runner, and cornerbacks stick to him at the break point, but he has large, accepting hands with balance and body control before, during and after the catch. He projects as an NFL rotational receiver who can earn playing time with further development.

Round 7, Pick 233 – OT Nathan Thomas, Louisiana-Lafayette

Georgia State v Louisiana

Photo by Ragin’ Cajun Athletics/University Images via Getty Images


The Dallas Cowboys decided to use the 223rd overall pick in the seventh-round to triple dip and add even more depth to their offensive line with the selection of Louisiana-Lafayette offensive tackle Nathan Thomas. He is projected to kick inside the next level, but could provide OT/G position flex at the next level with the Cowboys.

As a rookie, the 6’5″, 332-pound former Louisiana-Lafayette offensive lineman will have his work cut out for him to earn a roster spot with the Cowboys. His best bet to make the final 53-man roster will be as a reserve guard or tackle. He has the athletic profile and mauling mentality to earn such a role with the Cowboys early on.

Thomas has several likable qualities worth taking a late-round flyer on for the Cowboys with the first of their two seventh-round draft picks. He was Dane Brugler’s 16th ranked offensive tackle prospect in the 2024 draft class and he gave him a fifth round grade. For the Cowboys to get him in the seventh seems to be a good value pick.

Dane Brugler on Nathan Thomas:

Thomas has sloppy tendencies and needs to stay off the ground, but he is a smooth mover with strong mitts that help him batter and sustain (when they are well placed). His raw power might be accentuated best at guard in the NFL.

Round 7, Pick 244 – DT Justin Rogers, Auburn

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Auburn at Vanderbilt

Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


With the 244th overall pick in the seventh round, the Cowboys selected defensive tackle Justin Rogers out of Auburn. Rogers will hopefully provide some much-needed depth to arguably one of their biggest roster needs at the DT position.

At 6’2″, 330-pounds, the former Auburn DT fits the size threshold Mike Zimmer prefers in the middle of his defensive front. As a rookie he will likely be a two-down player who will hopefully help improve the Cowboys run defense as a rotational player.

There’s nothing really special that stands out about Rogers. He is what he is as an early down run-stopper, which is something Dallas needs. However, they likely could have gotten him as a priority free agent, which is what Dane Brugler had them protected as.

Dane Brugler on Justin Rogers:

Rogers is a short-area player with marginal length and pass-rush value, but he has the stoutness to be part of a rotation as an early down run stopper.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *