NFL Draft best available players for Dallas Cowboys: Jaylen Wright, Braelon Allen

April 27, 2024

KNOXVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 18: Tennessee Volunteers running back Jaylen Wright (0) runs the ball during a college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Georgia Bulldogs on November 18, 2023, at Neyland Stadium, in Knoxville, TN. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Jon Machota and Saad Yousuf6h ago

Two days of a critical NFL Draft for the Dallas Cowboys are in the books. They’ve drafted two offensive linemen, a defensive lineman and a linebacker. There are plenty of quality players remaining, and still holes on the roster that need to be addressed. The most notable omission is running back, a position that became an obvious need after the Cowboys chose not to replace Tony Pollard. The Cowboys re-signed Rico Dowdle, brought in veteran Royce Freeman and have publicly flirted with the idea of a reunion with Ezekiel Elliott.

When Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was asked about the hole at running back Friday night following the second day of the draft, he, unprompted, invoked Elliott’s name again.

“First of all, the draft’s not over,” Jones said. “That’s a thought. It was a long time before a running back was taken in today’s draft. But we also are keenly interested in seeing what the future might look like with Zeke.”

After the 25-minute news conference, Jones spoke with reporters for another seven minutes, most of the conversation revolving around the running back position. Both a potential Day 3 prospect and Elliott were parts of that conversation.

 In his first season out of Dallas, Ezekiel Elliott averaged ran for 642 yards (3.5 ypc) and three touchdowns for New England. (Gregory Fisher / USA Today)

On Day 3 prospects: “There are some running backs out there that I’d like to be on the Dallas Cowboys, yes there are,” Jones said.

On Elliott: “Is Zeke someone of interest? Yeah, he’s someone of interest. … I watched him play his last games with New England. I thought he played well enough to be a starter with New England, at the end.”

For full disclosure, in Elliott’s last six games as a Patriot, in which he had at least 10 carries in each game, Elliott’s average yard per carry was: 3.06, 3.09, 2.27, 2.25, 2.79 and 4.15, respectively. In the nine games last season Elliott had at least 10 carries, he had a yards per carry of at least 3.1 three times.

Whether or not the Cowboys proceed with re-signing Elliott, a running back will be a Day 3 position of interest, and in the undrafted free-agent market immediately following. Here’s a look at players who could be available for the Cowboys in the fourth (if they trade back in), fifth, sixth or seventh rounds.


Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee. A three-down back with the tools to be a playmaker, Wright may be the best all-around running back remaining on the board.

Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin. Originally committed to Wisconsin as a safety, Allen has an aggressive mindset and play style. Despite three seasons in college, Allen, playing a young man’s position, will be just 20 years old his entire rookie season in the NFL.

Audric Estime, RB, Notre Dame. He’s coming off a monster season where he rushed 210 times for 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s a physical downhill runner with excellent size to do damage between the tackles.

Daijun Edwards, RB, Georgia. A good change-of-pace running back who can play situationally with a solid committee around him.

Rasheen Ali, RB, Marshall. Speed and acceleration make him an intriguing option to take a chance on, but there are legitimate questions about his durability and ball security.

Brenden Rice, WR, USC. There are a lot of solid tangibles with Rice, and he has a knack for the end zone, but needs to develop into a more consistent product.

Tanor Bortolini, C, Wisconsin. The Cowboys already drafted Cooper Beebe on Friday, but Wisconsin centers have worked out well in Dallas and Beebe has some position flexibility. If Bortolini is there with good value, the Cowboys could consider it.


Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State. The top-rated safety on Dane Brugler’s board is still available heading into Day 3. He’s only included here as a guy the Cowboys could get, if they decided he was worth moving up for. Hicks likely won’t be there when the Cowboys pick in the fifth round.

Josh Proctor, S, Ohio State. A much older player, durability is a legitimate concern but when on the field, Proctor is a smart and instinctive player.

Ryan Watts, S, Texas. Watts has a lot of what you can’t coach and stands to improve in areas that are coachable. A solid special teamer until his defense comes along.

Josh Newton, CB, TCU. There are several other needs much more important than corner this year. But one could be added at some point to potentially pair in the future with Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland.

Jordan Magee, LB, Temple. A solid linebacker with a high motor and great special teams potential, with the possibility of becoming an everyday NFL player on defense.