Cowboys draft: Day 3 recap and needs entering UDFA

The Dallas Cowboys are finally off the clock for the 2024 season. That doesn’t mean their work is over, but the team can officially turn the page to the offseason with their new rookie class coming in.

What felt like a big emphasis for the team was to get tougher and nastier in their play style. The players drafted in the first three rounds felt that way, and it also carried over into the final day.

Cealen Carson, CB – Wake Forest

The Cowboys had a long time to wait but were finally on the clock at pick No. 174 in the fifth round. Unfortunately, the team’s potential to target a running back was wiped out. Many of the top names got drafted in the fourth round, whereas Dallas didn’t have a draft pick.

However, the team had a blinking light and selected Wake Forest cornerback Caelen Carson. In Dane Brugler’s Beast draft guide, he had Carson as a potential third-round pick. Being able to select him in the fifth was too good of value to pass up on for a need.

In the post-draft press conference for the final day, Stephen Jones echoed something similar: whenever they could see themselves selecting a running back, “it didn’t work out” because they opted to draft players with higher grades. They wanted to stay true to their board.

Brugler says, “Overall, 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.” Given the recent success of selecting a cornerback in the fifth round, DaRon Bland, this could be another solid selection, with Al Harris and Mike Zimmer coaching him.

Ryan Flournoy, WR – SE Missouri State

Similar to when Dallas drafted Jalen Brooks in the seventh round last year, Ryan Flournoy has a similar profile. He is an ultra-athletic wide receiver who needs more time to develop his route running. Even though he won’t come into the Cowboys locker room competing for WR3, he has the upside of being a plus special teams player and could develop into a rotational wideout in time.

One thing that should catch Cowboys fans’ attention is that when Flournoy was asked by beat reporters who his play style is similar to, he said that his style of play is comparable to Dez Bryant. If that’s the case, then people should be excited to see what happens in training camp.

Nathan Thomas, OL – Louisiana-Lafayette

The Cowboys couldn’t get out of the draft without selecting one more offensive lineman. Jerry Jones gave an all-time one-liner in the post-draft press conference: “Why do you rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.” Jones is referring to the belief that this class’s strength was along the offensive line, so why not take a few swings?

Interestingly enough, Thomas was graded higher than some offensive line products drafted before him. Brugler listed the Ragin’ Cajun as his 15th-ranked offensive tackle. At 6’5” and 332 pounds, Thomas played left tackle in 2023 but could be moved inside to guard if the coaching staff believes that’s where he has the highest upside.

Justin Rogers, DT – Auburn

History has a way of repeating itself. In 2005, the Cowboys selected a defensive tackle from Auburn in the seventh round in Jay Ratliff. In 2024, the Cowboys selected a defensive tackle from Auburn in the seventh round in Justin Rogers. Who was the defensive coordinator in both of those seasons? None other than Mike Zimmer.

Comparing their rare athletic scores, Ratliff was the superior athlete, but both men are of similar size and are best suited to play the 1-technique. Outside of running backs, the Cowboys needed to address the defensive tackle position, as mentioned in today’s recap of day two.

There’s a chance Rogers doesn’t make the 53-man roster. It’s nothing against the player, but when someone is a seventh-round pick, the odds are not starting in their favor. Luckily for him, he was drafted by a team that covets its draft picks and doesn’t tend to let them go the same season they were drafted.

There shouldn’t be an expectation that Rogers will turn into Ratliff, but given coach Zimmer’s history of taking a player of similar size under his wing, there’s always a chance.

Needs entering undrafted free agency – RB, DT, DE, LB, QB

Running back was not addressed like many fans were hoping for this draft cycle. There could be a real possibility that Ezekiel Elliott will return as early as this weekend if a contract is worked out. There’s a chance Dallas goes after the position in undrafted free agency, but when they have in the past, most names don’t make it to the 53-man roster.

Dallas has Rico Dowdle as an RB1 option, and they will see what they have in homegrown players like Malik Davis and Deuce Vaughn, plus Royce Freeman. If they don’t feel like an UDFA rookie would be better than what they have, they might not even sign a rookie.

Quarterbacks are always intriguing to watch. Mike McCarthy has loved developing quarterbacks since his days in Green Bay. In his first season with the Cowboys, he selected Ben DiNucci in the seventh round and stuck around for a few seasons.

Given the history of Tony Romo working out as an undrafted free agent, there’s always a possibility the team goes after someone to grow behind Dak Prescott. Looking ahead to 2025, none of the quarterbacks on the roster would be under contract, so there’s certainly a forward-thinking need for it.

It’s hard to keep track of every undrafted free agent the Cowboys pursue on your own. No need to worry; Blogging the Boys already has a tracker online that we’re updating constantly. Just bookmark the page and check every few minutes for continued updates over the next 24 hours.


Leave a Reply

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