Ok, let's clarify that – not saying to forget the No. 9 overall pick completely. Obviously that draft pick will be one of the most important selections the Cowboys will make in quite some time. Whoever they take, he has to be someone who can play immediately.
You might not have liked everything Jerry Jones said this week down here at the Senior Bowl, but you have to agree with that statement – the No. 9 pick has to contribute right away.
But, since we're here in Mobile, Ala., watching some of the best senior prospects only, it's safe to say there aren't many candidates here the Cowboys could take at No. 9. Maybe Texas A&M's Von Miller is in that range, but I don't know if he'll be a great 3-4 fit and if so, he'd probably be a situational player right now. You can't take that at No. 9.
And maybe Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder will jump up to that range. He looks a lot like Doug Free, or even John Phillips. Solder has great size and agility.
Ok, so let' move past the first round and onto the second round, where the Cowboys will pick 40th overall. Now this place is flooded with players for that pick.
Let's take a look at five guys who could be good fits for this team at that spot:
Colorado CB Jalil Brown (6-0, 202) – This is a guy who could actually slide up to the first round and out of the Cowboys' reach. But he's got the size teams are looking for and he's one of the best press-corners out there. He seems to be very physical in practice – which is the only time he'll get to do that since the Senior Bowl rules don't allow man coverage in the game on Saturday. Brown was also named his team's Special Teams Player of the Year at Colorado as a freshman for his ability to cover kicks.
Oklahoma S Quinton Carter (6-0, 211) – Ok, so his name might be pretty close to another Cowboys' second round pick. But Carter is an interesting player because he's more of an old-fashioned strong safety. Yes, the Cowboys need more help at free safety, but let's not dismiss the fact Gerald Sensabaugh could really play either spot. Carter certainly looks the part and he's considered a "walk-down" safety who can really control things near the line of scrimmage. Plus, he'd be a solid special teams addition as well.
Baylor OL Danny Watkins (6-3, 312) – Talk about an interesting story, Watkins is a former Canadian firefighter who has only played four seasons of organized football, including the last two at Baylor where he started at left tackle. Watkins is actually playing both guard and tackle this week and is certainly turning some heads because of strength and tenacity. You're always looking for versatility on the line and a guy like this could be a fix at both guard or tackle, depending on what the Cowboys need the most.
Iowa DE Christian Ballard (6-4, 288) – Despite Jerry Jones saying he's confident about the front seven, you can never have too many strong players up front. Plus, who knows what will happen with three unrestricted free agents at DE in Bowen, Spears and Hatcher. But Ballard could be a good fit a 3-4 defensive end. This is the area where Ballard may get picked, but Cowboys and Rob Ryan might feel like you can find some quality players at this position later on in the draft.
Oregon LB Casey Matthews (6-0, 232) – He'd probably be an inside backer in a 3-4 scheme. And with Sean Lee taken in the second round last season, with both Brooking and Bradie James expected to return, it could be crowded here. But the fact his brother is playing so well in Green Bay and his football genes, Matthews figures to be a good player as well. He made a few instinctive plays in the national championship and has picked off a few passes in practice at the Senior Bowl. If he's the best available on the board, he should be considered.
Again, these are just the guys we're seeing down here at the Senior Bowl. It's not the best players available, but definitely some good players who should be able to help the middle rounds, even as high as the No. 40 pick.