The 2014 East-West Shrine Game is in the books; and for me, there are three players that stood out and will be on the Cowboys radar during this year’s draft process. Let’s start with the name that is steadily gaining more and more coverage:
Jimmy Garoppolo (6-3, 222lbs) QB, Eastern Illinois
Garoppolo had a solid game and the Romo comparisons are gaining more media attention. It doesn’t help when he comes from the same college Tony Romo came from as an undrafted free agent. He’s undoubtedly been on no ones radar, at least for most fans. Everyone has been fixated on the big ticket names like Bridgewater, Manziel, and Bortles; but, that is slowly changing. Garoppolo had a solid career at Eastern Ilinois with an impressive TD:INT ratio.
With A.J. McCarron backing out of the Senior Bowl, Garoppolo has seized on the opening and will play next Saturday. If Garoppolo has another solid showing he could see his stock skyrocket. The Senior Bowl has been a launching pad for several QBs in past years, so expect the name to be attached to the Cowboys in coming months. Jerry is not going to show his cards, and as in years before we’ve all seen all the smoke screens. We rarely guess the Cowboys picks, but this could be the year we add a QB in the draft, maybe not with the 1st round pick, but don’t discount one in the 2-4th rounds.
Dakota Dozier (6-4, 303lbs) OT/OG, Furman
If the Cowboys are looking to improve or supplement the offensive line then another standout from today’s game should be on the Cowboys draft board. The Cowboys need more durable players and Dozier fits the bill. Dozier had a solid East-West performance showing off his push at the line and hold up his blocks when he was in the game. Dozier was recently named to the FCS Consensus All-American. More here.
A college left tackle, Dozier arrived in St. Petersburg and was moved to guard, but the transition went smooth as if he’s been playing inside for years. He looked quick, balanced and controlled in his movements with the base strength and awareness to hold his ground and pick up extra blitzers. Dozier surfaced as the top offensive line prospect this week and is a darkhorse top-100 prospect. – Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
There’s no doubt the Cowboys will going defense for several rounds in this year’s draft, and DE will garner the most attention. It will be paramount for the Cowboys to infuse more youth and playmaking defensive line players this year. With huge questions surrounding the future of Ware and the likely departure of Spencer, the Cowboys will need to hit on a day one starter coupled with some rotational depth.
Will Clarke (6-6, 273lbs) DE, West Virginia
I won’t pretend to say I’ve seen any WVU games, but there’s something to be said when players show up for big games, and Clarke turned it on today. Clarke caught my eye, he was very disruptive coming off the edge, showed some power on his way to the QB all game. Like Garoppolo, Clarke has also been added to the Senior Bowl, so he’ll have another big game to help his stock rise some more.
“I’m going to try to take the momentum from this game to continue on with my training and get ready for the combine,” Clarke said. “There were a lot of questions surrounding my level of play, so I hope I was able to answer a lot of questions about that today. (ESPN)
Upcoming prospect events:
Jan. 25: Senior Bowl
Feb. 22-25: Scouting Combine
May 8-10: NFL Draft