Dallas Cowboys Have 'Legitimate Interest' In DeForest Buckner

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Feb 27, 2016 11:47 AM EST
Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner
The Dallas Cowboys reportedly have "a legitimate interest" in Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft."

The Dallas Cowboys finished in last place in the NFC East last season with a 4-12 record, and both their coaching staff and front office are currently at the 2016 NFL Combine looking to find prospects that can fill holes on their roster. Injuries were a major reason for Dallas' disappointing season in 2015, and many are speculating whether the team will take a quarterback with the fourth pick in the draft.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has come out and stated that the team doesn't have to find a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft, and that he believes that quarterback Tony Romo has three to five more seasons left in him. It's unclear if Jones is just using gamesmanship to try an land a quarterback of his liking, but if not expect the Cowboys to look heavily at a pass rusher in the first round.

The Cowboys' 2015 second round draft pick, defensive end Randy Gregory, has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, and the team is reportedly done with defensive end Greg Hardy. Despite both Hardy and Gregory being on the roster in 2015 the Cowboys still finished near the bottom of the league in total team sacks, tying for 25th with 31 quarterback takedowns. With such a heavy need for a pass rusher and the amount of talent at the position in this year's draft class it's very plausible to see the Cowboy going with a pass rusher in the first round.

One particular prospect to keep an eye on is Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, as the Cowboys reportedly have "a legitimate interest" in him, according to Walter Football. The 6-foot-7, 281-pound defensive end is arguably the best talent in the 2016 NFL Draft class, and has drawn comparisons to the Cardinals' Calais Campbell and 49ers' Arik Armstead.

Buckner recorded 83 total tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, and 10.5 sacks this past season and created consistent havoc for opposing Pac-12 offenses.

"I feel like they're (Cowboys) really interested in me, that they see a lot of good things in me," said Buckner at the NFL Combine, via Walter Football. "But they also showed film on some of things I wasn't doing right and I have to fix."

The Cowboys are in the market for a pass rusher and likely a quarterback in the first round of the draft, but if Buckner isn't selected in the first three picks don't be surprised if Dallas pounces on him at four.

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