(Editor's Note: Throughout the spring, DallasCowboys.com will continue its NFL draft coverage by looking at various college Pro Days and workouts around the nation. Texas A&M hosted its annual Pro Day on Thursday, and Lawrence Smelser, assistant sports editor for The Battalion, was on hand for the event.)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Despite Myles Garrett being out of the Dallas Cowboys' reach in the upcoming NFL draft, the organization's scouts kept a close eye on other players, including safety Justin Evans and defensive end Daeshon Hall, at Texas A&M's Pro Day on Thursday.
After losing Barry Church, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Terrell McClain to free agency as well as Randy Gregory to a year-long suspension, the Cowboys are looking to revamp their defense with young talent in the draft.
Fifteen former Aggies worked out in front of NFL scouts from all 32 teams. General managers such as the 49ers' John Lynch, the Bears' Ryan Pace and the Dolphins' Chris Grier were in attendance, with Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson watching too.
After an injury to Evans' right quad limited him to participating in only the bench press at the Combine, where he had 14 reps, the second-team All-SEC safety likely raised his draft stock and had an impressive performance at Pro Day. Despite still being sore in his quad, Evans started his day out with a 41.5-inch vertical leap and ran a 4.45 unofficial 40-yard dash.
Garrett ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the Combine but decided to attempt it again and bettered his time unofficially at 4.61. Along with his 40, Garrett participated in the broad jump and recorded a 10-foot-6-inch leap. The Arlington, Texas, native is looking to be the first A&M player in program history to be drafted first overall and only the fourth defensive end since 2000.
Top Picks: DE Myles Garrett, S Justin Evans, DE Daeshon Hall, RT Jermaine Eluemunor, WR Josh Reynolds
Possible Cowboys Fits:
Justin Evans (S): The winner of college football's Midseason Player of the Year award by NFL.com played all 13 games his senior year and produced 87 tackles (52 solo, five for loss), five interceptions and eight passes defended. Evans showed how valuable he was during the 2016 season with his ball hawk ability.
Daeshon Hall (DE):The Lancaster, Texas, product had an impressive NFL Combine that included a fourth place finish in the vertical jump with 36 inches and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds. During his four years with A&M, Hall recorded 14 sacks, 158 total tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss and forced four fumbles. The 6-foot-6, 266-pounder said at Pro Day he has a visit with the Cowboys scheduled for April 7th.
Jermaine Eluemunor (RT): With speculation that Doug Free may retire, the right tackle position could use addressing. Eluemunor started 12 of 13 games for A&M this season with three at right guard and nine at right tackle. The London native performed well at the Combine, finishing second among all offensive linemen in the bench press with 34 reps. The 6-foot-4, 332-pounder still needs time and experience to develop but could be a steal in the draft.
Josh Reynolds (WR): The junior college transfer played with A&M for only three years and ended up becoming second on the list for most touchdowns receptions (30) in program history behind Jeff Fuller (34). The 6-foot-4 wide receiver was a red zone machine and finished his senior campaign by grabbing at least one score in eight straight games. At Pro Day, Reynolds ran the 40-yard dash twice, clocking in at 4.52 and 4.55, and he also posted a 36-inch vertical leap.
Top Performer:Evans had a stellar showing in the vertical jump and 40-yard dash. The Mississippi native shined during his big opportunity at Pro Day. Add on his 10-foot-9 inch broad jump and it is clear that Evans' had the best day of all 15 participants.
Who Else Stood Out:
Speedy Noil (WR): The former No. 1-rated athlete out of Edna Karr high school dealt with off-the-field issues at A&M but showed off his skills at Pro Day. Noil clocked in unofficially at 4.42 for the 40-yard dash after not running at the Combine. At the Combine Noil, finished first in the vertical jump with a 43.5 inch leap.
What The Players Said:
Garrett on why he ran the 40-yard dash again: "Because I know I can do better and I have personally done better. I wanted to break my own personal record [of 4.47.]"
Jermaine Eluemunor on possibility of playing for Dallas:"I would have my friends and family coming down to watch my games. That's a crazy dome right there, it would be really fun playing with the offensive line. That would be real cool."
Evans on stepping in and playing on the Cowboys' defense if they drafted them: "For sure. I feel like I'm ready to step in anywhere. I feel that I'm an elite enough player and smart enough to come in and learn the system. I can come in and play right away."
Evans on his performance and if he surprised scouts: "I did as best as I could, I gave it my all so I'm happy. I may have but I didn't surprise myself though."
Hall on potentially being drafted by the Cowboys: "It would mean a lot but I want to get drafted. Anybody who'll take me will make me excited."
Hall on what the scouts told him: "They've been telling me I'm versatile. They see me standing up and rushing in the three-point stance. They told me to keep doing what I was doing out there and keep being a physical player."
Trevor Knight on potentially switching positions in the NFL: "I'm going to play quarterback right now. I think I have the tools and the makeup to be successful in this league playing quarterback. Somewhere down the road if the only chance I have to play is in another position then I'd be open to it."
What Others Said:
Evans' father, Reginald Robinson on his son potentially being drafted by Dallas: "It would be big. You think about him playing for America's Team. That would be awesome to go in that stadium and see him put on whatever number he's got and lined up next to Byron Jones."
Eric Dickerson on A&M having 15 players at Pro Day: "That's impressive for them. It shows how many athletes they have that attend A&M. The job they did recruiting, and possibly that some of these guys are going to play in the NFL, there's no guarantees but that's a lot of guys to have out here playing in front of the scouts."
Dickerson on Garrett skipping the draft to be with his family: "That's important. Family comes first. This is probably going to be his life for 12-15 years, but his family is going to come before the sport. I believe that."
Dickerson on Daeshon Hall playing in Myles Garrett's shadow: "The NFL is a league that sometimes guys, they don't excel in college. And that same guy you say 'where was he at in college?' but he ends up being a great NFL player. Some guys it clicks for them in the NFL."
Dickerson on Evans' NFL potential: "He's a player to me that plays hard. He's coachable. The big thing right now is you gotta stay out of trouble. If you do that you can have a successful NFL career."
A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin on Justin Evans' NFL potential: "In our league every team has one of those guys. They might be a little bit bigger but I think he's shown on his tape that he's physical, he's got range, he'll hit and that he has great ball skills. He's going to be just fine based on the guys I talked to today."
Sumlin on Reynolds' path since he arrived at A&M: "All he did was catch 13 touchdowns his first season here. He's got buildup speed according to NFL scouts. All I know is speed is speed and he runs by people and catches the ball."