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3 Cowboys targets whose stock rising at NFL Combine

John Owning

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Mar 1, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; UTEP Miners offensive lineman Will Hernandez speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is underway. More than 300 NFL Draft prospects are doing their best to make a favorable impression on the 32 NFL teams. Some succeed, others don’t. Though it’s not the biggest piece of a player’s evaluation, it is a meaningful chunk.

With the 19th slot in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys will miss out on blue-chip prospects such as Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but they will still have the opportunity to add additional talent to a team that is one year removed from a 13-3 season.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few potential Cowboy draft targets who were able to increase their value at the NFL Scouting Combine.

D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

One of the biggest risers at the NFL Combine is D.J. Moore. Measuring in at six feet tall and 210 pounds, Moore eased any size and catch-radius concerns evaluators had. Moore continued to answer any questions surrounding his athletic ability by posting a 4.43-second 40-yard dash while registering an 11-foot broad jump and a 39.5-inch vertical — which would have been the 10th-best weight adjusted vertical jump at last year’s combine.

Moore proved that he is one of the best athletes in this draft regardless of position, something the NFL covets at the wide receiver position.

Regardless of what happens with Dez Bryant, the Cowboys would be wise to consider Moore in the first round. He is dynamic with the ball and can create separation as a route runner. Moore would be an ideal No. 2 receiver with the ability to grow into a high-octane No. 1 WR in Year 2 or 3 and beyond.

Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

The bruising guard from UTEP proved that he has a little athleticism to his game. Measuring a bit over 6-foot-2 and 325 pounds, Hernandez proved to be one of the better offensive line athletes in this draft. The athletic testing doesn’t correlate much to offensive line play, but it was still beneficial to see Hernandez’s ability to stay balanced while performing athletic movements, which is essential to offensive line play.

After posting a predictable 37 reps on the bench press, Hernandez ran an impressive 5.15-second 40-yard dash along with a 7.59-second three-cone drill. Again, it doesn’t matter much in regard to what Hernandez will do on Sundays, but it will cause his stock to rise as the NFL Draft nears.

With a great Senior Bowl and combine performance, Hernandez has maximized the pre-draft process, which is crucial for a small-school prospect. Hernandez was a popular target in mock drafts for the Cowboys in the second round. Dallas may have to pull the trigger at No. 19 or in a trade-down situation if it wants the UTEP guard.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

Running back isn’t at the top of the Cowboys’ list of needs, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Cowboys came away from the 2018 NFL Draft with a potential backup to Ezekiel Elliott.

Georgia’s Nick Chubb would be an ideal candidate to back up Elliott in the NFL, but his combine performance may put him out of Dallas’s reach. Many wondered how athletic Chubb would test since he was just two and a half years removed from a gruesome knee injury that resulted in a torn MCL, PCL and LCL.

Chubb immediately quieted any concerns with a 4.52-second 40-yard dash. On top of that, Chubb posted impressive numbers in the vertical (38.5 inches) and broad jumps (10-foot-8).

The key for Chubb will be the medicals, but at least he proved that he is currently no worse for wear after a potentially career-ending injury. If his medicals come back clean, the Cowboys can kiss their chances of drafting Chubb goodbye. He would go much higher than when the Cowboys would be comfortable taking a running back.

John Owning is the NFL content editor here at FanRag Sports. He is Arizona State University graduate and current Galt, California resident. When he is not teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he is usually knee-deep in some NFL or college football tape. He has written for Bleacher Report and Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @johnowning.

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