Cowboys select former South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert at No. 88 overall in NFL draft


FRISCO — The call came a day or two before the draft.

Jalen Tolbert did not recognize the cell-phone number. Figuring it was the latest team seeking to confirm his contact information, the former South Alabama wide receiver answered.

That is when the NFL quarterback introduced himself.

“He was like, ‘This is Dak Prescott, man. How you doing?’” Tolbert said. “For a minute, it was like a surreal moment because I never knew quarterbacks called prospects. But it was awesome. We had a 20-minute conversation, and it was a great one. We immediately vibed on the phone, connected right there.”

More connections with Prescott are coming.

Tolbert’s phone rang again Friday evening. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones notified Tolbert he would be the team’s third-round selection. The versatile playmaker said that he was relieved his strong sense Dallas would draft him proved correct.

It wasn’t just the Prescott phone call.

New Cowboys wide receivers coach Robert Prince held a private workout with Tolbert in March. Tolbert believed it went well, having demonstrated he could retain information while running routes that are featured in the Dallas offense.

Once the workout concluded, Tolbert asked Prince if there was anything Prince felt he should work to improve.

“He was like, ‘I’ll tell you that when we make you a Cowboy,'” Tolbert said. “I kind of got a little hint there.”

Tolbert can line up at any wide receiver position, not unlike Cedrick Wilson, who signed with the Miami Dolphins in March. They have different styles of play, however, as Tolbert is more of a downfield threat.

The smooth route runner rewrote the South Alabama record book with 178 career receptions for 3,140 yards and 22 touchdowns. He measured 6-1 and 194 pounds at the NFL combine, timing at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash with a 36-inch vertical.

Any question Tolbert had about the Cowboys’ interest was removed when Prescott called.

“We talked about my previous relationships with my quarterbacks,” Tolbert said. “We talked about my strengths on and off the field. We talked about what challenges I had to overcome. Dak was asking me if he could put me at X by myself on 3×1 or if I could go to the slot in between CeeDee [Lamb] and Michael [Gallup]. All of it. We just talked.”

Lamb, Gallup and Tolbert, James Washington and Noah Brown project as the Cowboys’ top wide receivers in 2022. Gallup likely won’t be available when the season begins because of February surgery for a torn ACL.

Tolbert admits he felt nervous Friday.

Wide receivers kept being drafted. All was quiet on his end. Then, with the No. 88 overall selection, Dallas was on the clock.

“The Cowboys came through,” Tolbert said. “I can’t wait to come down there and come through for them.”

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More from Day 2 of the NFL Draft

— Cowboys accomplish a mission they claimed not to have by addressing needs over drafts’ first 2 days

— Cowboys select former Ole Miss DE Sam Williams at No. 56 overall in NFL draft

— Cowboys select former South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert at No. 1 88 overall in NFL draft

— ‘Don’t be hatin’: Emmitt Smith quiets Dallas Cowboys haters before announcing third-round pick

Find more Cowboys coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.





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