Draft Notes: Cowboys, Rams, Fautanu, Legette, Texans, Colts

The Cowboys currently own pick No. 24, but like many other teams late in the first-round order they could be enticed to move down the board. When speaking about the team’s Day 1 approach, owner Jerry Jones noted the appeal of adding extra draft capital, stating it is “very likely” they could have a trade-down opportunity.

“I’m not trying to be cute there,” Jones added, offering a counter to his previous point (via The Athletic’s Saad Yousef). “Obviously we’d like to have some mid-round picks. But by the same token, Micah Parsons might be sitting there with that pick. Now, do you want to go for some more picks or do you want to snag him?”

A number of intriguing options could still be on the board for Dallas if the team remains in place. Offensive line is a known area of interest, and Graham Barton is believed to be on the Cowboys’ radar. Replacements for Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz are needed, and Yousef adds that – all things being equal – Dallas’ preference would be to acquire a left tackle over a center in round one. That direction would allow Tyler Smith to remain at guard.

With the draft’s opening night less than 24 hours away, here are some more notes from around the NFL:

  • The Colts are among the teams set to to pick in the teens which could be interested in a move up the board. That is also the case for the Rams, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. 2024 marks the first year in which Los Angeles owns a Day 1 selection since 2016, but with 11 total picks the team could easily move up from the No. 19 slot. Adding a successor for Matthew Stafford under center has been floated as a first-round possibility, and Bo Nix could be a target in that instance. However, Dianna Russini of The Athletic sees such a move as unlikely (subscription required). Finding a D-line contributor to help fill the void left by Aaron Donald could be a more pressing need for the Rams.
  • Troy Fautanu is one of many offensive linemen slated to be selected in the first round, but an injury concern could hurt his stock. The Washington tackle had a knee injury flagged during the pre-draft process, as noted by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. The issue is seen as one which should not cause trouble in the short term but could ultimately “[impact] his longevity” at the NFL level. Fautanu may be viewed as a tackle (rather than a guard) in the pros, and he is believed to be a target of the Jets at the No. 10 pick. It will be interesting to see if his knee causes a drop down the Day 1 order.
  • Wideout Xavier Legette recently went public with the fact the Panthers have shown an interest in drafting him 33rd overall. In response, first-year head coach Dave Canales replied he has made the same remark to “50 other guys” (h/t team reporter Darin Grant). Carolina is obviously not considering that many prospects with the team’s top selection, but Canales’ comment proves the approach is certainly not Legette-or-bust. The former Gamecock had a breakout campaign in 2023, and his size and physicality makes him one of the more intriguing prospects in a celebrated receiver class. Legette could be a first-round candidate, and the WR-needy Bills are among the teams which hosted him for a private workout.
  • Nick Caserio has a reputation for executing trades both early and late in the draft, pulling off 18 total moves during his three years at the helm of the Texans. That total includes eight trades in 2023, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes Caserio is “likely” to continue being active on the trade front this weekend. Of course, Houston has already been a major player in terms of pick swaps, dealing the 23rd choice to the Vikings last month. As things stand, the Texans own nine 2024 selections.
  • Colts owner Jim Irsay is recovering from surgery which addressed back and leg issues, and his mobility is presently limited as a result. That will keep him from being in the team’s draft room, as he explained to ESPN’s Stephen Holder. Irsay will still be connected virtually to the team’s decision-makers, though, meaning Indianapolis’ draft process will carry on as usual as he continues to recover.
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