Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys take three defensive players on final day of draft

Dallas picked Minnesota linebacker Damien Wilson in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
Dallas picked Minnesota linebacker Damien Wilson in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. AP

Dallas began the third and final day of the NFL Draft by taking Minnesota linebacker Damien Wilson in the fourth round Saturday afternoon.

In the fifth round, the Cowboys added Purdue defensive end Ryan Russell. In the seventh, they picked up linebacker Mark Nzeocha from Wyoming, offensive tackle Laurence Gibson from Virginia Tech and tight end Geoff Swaim from Texas.

The Cowboys began the day with two picks in the seventh round but traded a 2016 sixth-round pick to San Francisco to get back in and select Swaim.

Russell, a graduate of Carrollton Creekview, had 47 career starts at Purdue. As a senior, he had 44 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and one forced fumble.

“I’m ecstatic, overjoyed, humbled,” Russell said. “I’m just so glad that the Cowboys feel as strongly about me as I’ve always felt about them.”

Wilson led the Gophers with 119 tackles last season, along with 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. The Cowboys brought Wilson in for a last-minute pre-draft visit, and he spent a couple hours talking football with linebackers coach Matt Eberflus.

The 6-foot, 245-pound Wilson started 12 of 13 games in each of the past two seasons. He is known for his high motor.

On a conference call, Wilson said: “I don’t stop until the ball hits the ground ... or the ball carrier.”

Swaim, a 6-foot-4, 250-pounder, is known as a blocking tight end. He had 10 catches for 70 yards and one touchdown last season.

“Anytime you see a team make a move on your behalf, it does boost your confidence,” Swaim said.

No running back

Analysts and fans thought the Cowboys would select a running back with one of their draft picks. They didn’t.

The Cowboys weren’t willing to reach for a running back, and stuck true to their draft board.

“There were some running backs we were interested in at the top of the draft, in the middle of the draft and down here late in the draft, but I do think we had good discipline throughout taking players at other positions that we think can really help us,” coach Jason Garrett said.

With rushing leader DeMarco Murray gone to Philadelphia, the Cowboys will lean on off-season acquisition Darren McFadden from Oakland and returners Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams to fill the void in the running game.

Undrafted free agents

The Cowboys started adding undrafted free agents as soon as the draft ended.

The group includes Miami center Shane McDermott, Appalachian State cornerback Joel Ross, Florida Atlantic wide receiver Lucky Whitehead, Kansas wide receiver Nick Harwell, UT El Paso quarterback Jameill Showers and Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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