IRVING, Texas –The activity level around Valley Ranch has picked up considerably for the first time since January, as the Cowboys' pre-draft visits began cycling through the facility Tuesday.
The Cowboys are hosting the first of their 30 scheduled visits with 2015 draft prospects, as the clock continues to count toward the start of the first round on April 30. During their visits, players will meet with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, team position coaches and members of the scouting department.
With 30 players – all with varying draft grades – expected to arrive in town by the end of the week, the Cowboys will group their visits and spread them out over the next few days.
Tuesday's visitors are expected to include some of the most high-profile names on the team's radar, including Georgia running back Todd Gurley, Kentucky defensive end Bud Dupree, UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks and Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson.
Of course, it's hard to predict what any of this will mean when the Cowboys pick 27th overall on draft night, when most of the biggest names will have already been selected. But the visit process does give a good indicator of who is being targeted. The list of 30 visitors includes early-round targets as well as lesser-known names.
At the NFL's annual meetings in Phoenix last month, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he planned to take a look at the draft's top running backs. That's proven to be true, with Gurley visiting Tuesday and Wisconsin standout Melvin Gordon expected to visit later in the week.
Both of the Cowboys' past two first-round picks, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, visited Valley Ranch during the build-up to their respective drafts. In 2012, Morris Claiborne did not make the visit, as the Cowboys were widely thought to be out of range to select him – up until they traded into the No. 6 overall pick on draft night. Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant also visited the facility in the weeks before they were drafted.