Dallas Cowboys 2011 NFL Draft Review

Jerry Jones surprised the Cowboy fans in a big way by making no trades and drafting from their designated picks. This is the first year since 2003 that Dallas has not made any trades. The Cowboys felt that without free agency coming into play prior to the draft, they could stay true to their board. By drafting Tyron Smith the Cowboys ended a 30-year string without a first round offensive lineman. As the 9th pick in the draft, he will be expected to be a starter either on the right side or swapping with Doug Free and moving to Tony Romo’s blind side. Tyron Smith was voted the Morris Trophy, given to the Pac-10’s most valuable lineman. The 20-year old tackle played on the right side at Southern Cal in a pro style offense. He is gifted with extra long arms and catcher mitt sized hands. A solid zone blocker, he seals the playside with technique and athletic ability. He played on the right side, but has left tackle feet. He is equally skilled and effective at pass or run blocking. A knee bender with leg drive and hip snap, he will upgrade the right or left side of the line. Bruce Carter started 44 of 49 career games for the Tar Heels. He recorded 215 career tackles, 9 ½ sacks, and 24 tackles for loss. He tore a left anterior cruciate ligament on November 20th against rival North Carolina State. Generally it takes a year to come back 100 percent from that type of knee injury, but Carter should be worth the wait. The sideline to sideline player is ultra athletic and closes quickly on the ball. He is as natural an athlete at linebacker as there was in the 2011 Draft. Fluid with good hip flexibility, he is a knee bender with quick hands and feet. He is a three down linebacker with pass rush quickness and the ability to redirect. His only negative is that his instincts appear to be off at times. When he sees the ball however, he drives hard to it. DeMarco Murray is similar to the Cowboys’ first two draft choices in his productivity over his college career. Marion Barber may be the odd man out with Murray in the mix with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. Murray is a versatile athlete who has experience at wide receiver, in the slot, and takes the direct snap in the “Wildcat” offensive package. He also ranked second on Oklahoma’s all-time kickoff return list. He has been a clutch player at crunch time and is smart and productive. David Arkin brings some youth to the interior of the Dallas line. The durable offensive lineman played right guard his first three years at Missouri State. As a senior, he played left tackle. A high effort player, he is strong at the point of attack. Competitive, physical, and intense in his play, he is a natural guard for a zone blocking team. Right guard Leonard Davis is 33-years old while left guard Kyle Kosier is scheduled for free agency. Josh Thomas is a four-year starter who majors in zone coverage. He plays with quickness, balance, and good change of direction. Smooth in his turns with good hip flexibility, he plays best as a press corner in a cover-two scheme while struggling in off man coverage. He is competitive with good leaping ability. Dwayne Harris is a wide receiver who started 24 games and was the Conference USA’s MVP. He was very productive over his career with 268 catches. A slot type receiver, he was drafted to work the middle of the field. In 2010 he caught 101 passes, good for 1123 yards. During practices at the Senior Bowl he struggled catching the ball. He should contribute on special teams. Shaun Chapas was a three year starter at Georgia and is a willing and productive blocker who can seal the edge. He was drafted to compete with Chris Gronkowski and to play special teams. He also has experience at H-back where he can get a running start at his target. Bill Nagy is the only drafted center on the Cowboy roster besides starter Andre Gurode. The least recognized of the Wisconsin group of senior linemen must contribute as a guard/center combination to make the 53-man squad. GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

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