By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Irving _ With less than a month to go before the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys began hosting possible prospects for the 14th overall pick on Monday.
The team will bring in roughly 30 national prospects starting Monday evening and running through Wednesday.
On Thursday and Friday they will hold their annual Dallas Day workouts for prospects who went to high school or college in the Fort Worth-Dallas metro area.
Among the national prospects expected to visit area three players who have been popular choices for the Cowboys at 14 on a number of mock drafts, including guard David DeCastro, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and defensive tackle Dontari Poe, according to a team source.
The most intriguing name is Poe, considering owner Jerry Jones gushed about him last week at the NFL owners meeting in Palm Beach.
"I'm impressed with him," Jones said. "I'm real impressed. I'm particularly impressed cause he looks like a nose [tackle] and has the skill and has some pass rush about him at the five technique. I'm impressed with him."
One Sports Illustrated writer has gone so far as to say that Poe is the player the Cowboys are now targeting.
Of course Jones also said they would likely not take an offensive lineman with the 14th pick because of the two guards they picked up on free agency. Yet they will have an up close and personal visit with DeCastro, considered to be the best guard in the draft.
The Kirkpatrick visit is also in keeping with Jones’ words that the Cowboys would most likely choose a defensive player in the first round and the need for special player at corner is always so great that they could take one despite the signing of free agent Brandon Carr to a $50.1 million contract.
Kirkpatrick, who has already had a private workout with the Cowboys, arrived in Dallas on Monday, his agent Brian Overstreet said.
One player conspicuously not having an invitation to visit is LSU standout defensive lineman Michael Brockers. His agent Albert Elias said he has not been extended an invite by the Cowboys.
Who visits is usually a good indicator of who the Cowboys might pick at 14.
Every year since 2006, the top pick has been among the pre-draft visitors that year, in Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Spencer, Jason Williams, Felix Jones, Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith.
Of course 2005, they drafted DeMarcus Ware first and he didn’t make a pre-draft visit. That seemed to turn out okay.
Among the players set to come in for the Dallas Day visit are Texas linebackers Emmanual Acho and Keenan Robinson, Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller and TCU linebacker Tank Carder.