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With Most Bases Covered, What About OLB?

against Notre Dame last year with a broken fibula.  

But considering Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells is a big fan of players whose fathers have NFL experience, Carpenter would be a good fit. Oh, and the fact that Carpenter's dad is none other than Rob Carpenter, who played four seasons under Parcells with the Giants in the early 80's. Talk about making sense.  

But if the Cowboys indeed take Carpenter, a player who is all over the projection map in this draft - anywhere from 15th to 35th - the biggest reason would be his ability. Carpenter can play the run, he can cover and he can rush the quarterback, leaving Ohio State ranked 10th in school history with 14½ sacks.  

Unlike Ware, who played four years at Troy University with his hand on the ground as a defensive end, Carpenter wouldn't need to make the same adjustment to the 3-4 defense since he played a true linebacker position at Ohio State.  

And that also sets him apart from a few defensive ends who are being projected as outside linebackers, guys such as North Carolina State's Manny Lawson or Florida State's Kamerion Wimberley.  

And unlike a year ago when the Cowboys could afford the risk on Ware, whose strength was pass-rushing - a glaring need the past several seasons - the team probably needs a more complete linebacker to play that left side, especially for run-stopping purposes.  

While Ware should get better in pass coverage, he's still making the adjustment, and must improve against the run. So if the Cowboys were to draft another outside linebacker, doesn't it make more sense to take a true linebacker and try to mold him into a better pass rusher along the way?  

Carpenter won't be the only option here. Alabama's DeMeco Ryans, Florida State's Ernie Sims and even UTEP's Thomas Howard are all possibilities in the late first round to early second.  

But an even better fit for the Cowboys at their 18th pick might be Iowa's Chad Greenway if he's available. At 6-2, 245, Greenway is known for his ability to find the football and make plays all over the field. He's also considered a very intelligent player who makes few mental mistakes.  

Speaking of football smarts, it's going take quite a player, especially as a rookie, to unseat Singleton, assuming he returns at full strength. Singleton is one of the smartest defenders on the team and takes a business-like approach to the game, a great example for his younger teammates. And while he's never been a flashy player, the Cowboys missed him last season when he went down.  

And trying to replace Singleton is nothing new. The Cowboys have attempted to do so since the day he arrived in 2003 as a free agent, but somehow, the crafty veteran has managed to stick around in the starting lineup, when healthy.  

But Singleton is more of a classic 4-3 linebacker, and on top of that, he turns 31 in August. So whether he ends up starting or not, getting some youth at the position would seem to be a priority.  

Sure, the Cowboys have covered just about every need across the board in free agency . . . with the exception of one: 

Outside linebacker. 

And there should be a bunch of them available for the taking.           

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