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Cowboys 2010 Draft: 10 Sleeper Picks

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Idaho guard Mike Iupati. Texas safety Earl Thomas. Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell.

Everyone is familiar with the guys the Cowboys are supposed to take. Surely they couldn’t pass on Iupati if he drops to pick #27, right?

The draft rarely plays out as we expect. Below are a few first and second round prospects that no one (except maybe us) expects the Cowboys to select, yet all could be securing tickets to Dallas come April.

Round 1

Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan

The first two players on this list made our “Sweet 16” bracket but are still not considered likely Cowboys’ draft selections. In that article, we mentioned Graham as a guy to keep your eye on, and for good reason–he is a pass-rushing monster who is equally stout against the run. Wade Phillips loves that combination and the Cowboys are unproven at OLB behind Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.

Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

Wilson joined Graham as a “winner” in his Sweet 16 match-up. Wilson’s value to Dallas would come not only in his ability to push Orlando Scandrick for the nickel job, but also (maybe more importantly) in his return skills. The Cowboys may have a tough decision on their hands should Wilson, who is expected to get drafted in the middle of the first round, falls to their selection.

Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech

The reason Morgan is an unpopular mock draft selection for Dallas is that most teams envision him as a 4-3 defensive end. He struggled at the Combine when asked to stand up and drop into coverage–a task that would be asked of him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. If the Cowboys deem his weaknesses correctable, though, Morgan could be a dominant pass-rushing OLB.

Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

The more we talk with scouts, the more we realize just how highly rated Weatherspoon is on a lot of team’s boards. Like Morgan, his “small” size may have him more suited to play in a 4-3 defense. Weatherspoon’s selection would be dependent on how Dallas projects his skill set in the NFL.

Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Williams is an under-the-radar player who has been rumored to possibly go as high as the Miami Dolphins at pick #12. Unlike Jared Odrick and some other DT prospects, Williams is a true nose tackle–he will not convert to defensive end for the Cowboys. If Dallas views their backup situation behind Jay Ratliff as dire, or if they envision Ratliff moving to defensive end for certain plays (unlikely), Williams could get a look.

Round 2

Eric Norwood, LB, South Carolina

We have made no secret about the fact that we are huge Norwood fans. We see him as a legitimate first round-type player, but obviously many scouts disagree. There is a good chance Norwood is on the board for the Cowboys in the second round. In the likely scenario that the team opts to bypass the OLB position in round one, Norwood will be a candidate to be the selection at pick #59.

Chris Cook, CB/FS, Virginia

Cook soared up boards after his ridiculous Combine performance (his 4.46 forty was second among cornerbacks and his 11’0” broad jump was tops among all players). His value to Dallas would come in his versatility–Cook can effectively play both cornerback and free safety. In that way, he is a bit like Texas safety Earl Thomas.

Jason Worilds, DE, Virginia Tech

We spoke with one scout who has Worilds as his second-rated defensive end. Worilds is a prime candidate to transition to outside linebacker for the Cowboys. The problem is that, despite a lack of publicity, Worilds could go as high as the back of the first or early second. If he begins to slide, however, he becomes a legit possibility for Dallas.

Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama

We have been hyping up Alabama CB Javier Arenas for quite some time, but it is his teammate Kareem Jackson who may be the better cornerback of the two. Arenas’ return ability may make him a better fit for Dallas later in the draft, but if the organization truly feels like it needs an upgrade over Scandrick, Jackson will get a look.

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB, Indiana of Pennsylvania

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (AOA) is a personal favorite of ours. Some scouts say he is the best returner in the entire draft. He has the measurables and production of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, another small-school product. At 6’0”, 207 pounds, AOA ran a 4.47 at the Combine and was timed as high as 4.38 at his recent Pro Day.

Likelihood of Sleeper Picks Becoming Cowboys

1 Eric Norwood

2 Akwasi Owusu-Ansah

3 Chris Cook

4 Kareem Jackson

5 Jason Worilds

6 Brandon Graham

7 Kyle Wilson

8 Sean Weatherspoon

9 Derrick Morgan

10 Dan Williams

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