Dallas Cowboys: DJ fluker

Cowboys preview: Make-or-break stretch

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
2:30
PM ET
The end of the season has not been kind to the Dallas Cowboys in recent years. It's not been just a Jason Garrett problem, but the Cowboys lost three of their last four in 2013, their final two in 2012 and four of their last five in 2011 to finish 8-8 all three years. This year's late-season schedule is difficult -- five of the last seven away from home -- but the pivotal stretch will be early in the year to make sure the end of the year is relevant. Six of the Cowboys' first nine games are at AT&T Stadium, which has not provided the greatest of home-field advantages since opening. The Cowboys have a three-game homestand from Oct. 19-Nov. 2 against three NFC teams that they almost have to sweep to stay in contention in the division or help in the wild-card standings.

Complete Cowboys season preview.
With the 18th pick of the NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys will select ...

With that, we look at five players that the Cowboys might select with their first-round pick Thursday night:

PODCAST
Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss some of the players the Cowboys should be looking at in the upcoming NFL draft.

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1. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina: Highly-regarded player had just two seasons of work in college. Scouts say he has a quick first step, excellent swim move and strong, active hands. Selecting Williams will become more of a reality if a safety or offensive linemen aren't available and the desire to move down decreases. He won't start right away because of the Cowboys' experience along the defensive line, but he most likely will be a starter in 2014.

2. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: He fills a need at the position where he can play close to the line of scrimmage and in coverage. The Cowboys want defensive backs to make plays on the ball, and the Cowboys defensive coaches and scouts believe he can do this. Vaccaro covers a lot of ground because he plays fast and displays smarts to make plays.

SportsNation

Who will the Cowboys pick at No. 18?

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Discuss (Total votes: 3,232)

3. D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama: In a draft heavy with guards and tackles, Fluker should be around in the teens. He's been projected to go late in the first round or possibly early in the second. He's got one of the biggest wingspans (87 1/4) of any tackle in the draft, displays good hands and has power to push defenders off the line of scrimmage.

4. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: The Cowboys might have to choose between Williams and Richardson. Both players attended JUCOs, but it seems Richardson needs some work. He's got the measureables (6-2, 294 pounds), a quick first step and makes plays away from the line of scrimmage. But he had shoulder surgery before the 2012 season and played only one full season at Missouri.

5. Chance Warmack, G, Alabama: He's considered one of the best guards in the draft along with Jonathan Cooper. There's some doubt if Warmack will be around at No. 18, but if he falls somehow, the Cowboys need to grab him. Warmack has good foot quickness, balance and strength. He had 40 starts in the SEC, which is impressive to NFL coaches and scouts.

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