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The Cowboys' Big Decision

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Fellow blog regular lou c. follows Eric R.'s piece with a review of the guard positions and first-day OL draft targets. Take it away, lou c.:

With all of the discussions about possible draft targets of the Boys, and free agent RTâ€â"¢s and Câ€â"¢s, I think that they biggest decision that will dictate what the Cowboys do this offseason starts with Larry Allen. I would love to see Larry Allen stay, but he only stays with a pay cut. If we want to discuss guys like LeCharles Bentley, Allen would have to take a big pay cut. If he doesnâ€â"¢t take the cut, and is released, it changes our draft board a little and puts more emphasis on Bentley. With LA gone, I say Jerry Jones goes real hard for Bentley and I put it at 60% that we sign him (Cleveland has a lot of money, a new QB, and thatâ€â"¢s his hometown, so I see them as the main competitors). It also makes finding a veteran RT more important. Hereâ€â"¢s a look at some of the draft options:

G Max Jean-Gilles
- The best guard in the draft, he is the biggest guard in the draft. He is 6â€â"¢3” and a half, and weighed in at 355 lbs at the combine. His feet look good, and heâ€â"¢s strong. He is more athletic than you think for a 355 lb. player. His problem seems to be his weight. If he keeps his weight in check, and Bill Parcells would make sure he would, he could be a dominant LG in the NFL. However, I give him the least chance of lasting until pick 49.

G Charles Spencer
- Another big guard, he is listed at 6â€â"¢4” and a half, 352 lbs. He is really strong, and put up 30 reps at 225 lbs, good for 3rd most among offensive lineman. He is real good athlete, and has quick feet. His technique is raw, and I donâ€â"¢t know if he would be ready to play in 2006. What I like about him is his versatility and that he is a team leader. He played defensive tackle his first 2 years, so he has agility and is really strong. I think he has a good chance at being there at 49, and I could see the Cowboys taking him.

G Davin Joseph
- The best athlete of the offensive lineman, he ran a 5.09, and was the best jumper of the OL at the combine. He has really, really long arms which help him. He is a little undersized at 6â€â"¢2”, 311 lbs. I think he may project to RG, and could give Marco Rivera a run for his money for the starting job. He also has had some time at tackle, although he is a better guard. I think he will rise up draft boards, but should be there at 49 when the Cowboys pick.

Honorable Mentions: Deuce Lutui, Jason Spitz

Any of those 3 guards would really give Stephen Peterman a run for his money, and I think one of the 2 would be able to get the job done at left guard. I think Jean Gilles could start right away over Peterman, with Spencer and Joseph taking over mid season maybe, depending on what Peterman shows.

As the right tackle position goes, I like Jason Fabini and Tom Ashworth a lot. Fabini is older and was injured last year, but has a lot of experience and is an ex-Parcells player. While most think we will sign a veteran RT after last seasonâ€â"¢s debacle, we still have to look into RTâ€â"¢s in the draft. Petiti could pan out, but I didnâ€â"¢t like what I saw last year. Hereâ€â"¢s my quick synopsis from the guys I think the Cowboys should be interested in:

T Winston Justice
- He could fall to 18, and the Cowboys would probably have to draft him. He is the 2nd best tackle in the draft, and has good size at more than 6â€â"¢6, 319 lbs. He had a great 2005 season after not playing in 2004. Now a USC tackle may scare some Cowboy fans, but I think Justice is the real deal and would be ready to start in 2006. He is the best offensive lineman not named Dâ€â"¢Brickashaw Fergunson, and is both great at run blocking and pass blocking. He is still pretty raw, and has some character issues, but I think Parcells would love to see him fall to 18.

T Jon Scott
- My favorite tackle that the Cowboys have a realistic shot at, he could play either LT or RT in the NFL. Like every tackle I listed, he comes from a real good college program. He has real good size and is a good athlete with long arms. He moves well for a guy his size. Has a lot of experience playing in Texas. I think he could start right away at RT, and could move to LT later on. He needs to hit the weight room, but again I think Parcells will fix that. I think he will soar up draft boards and go in the late 1st round, but if he lasted until 49 the Cowboys would take him in a heartbeat.

T Eric Winston
- Winston was highly rated before an ACL injury in 2004. Scouts said he was never fully recovered from the injury, and wasnâ€â"¢t the same afterwards. After watching him at the combine, I think he is healed. He struggles a little bit in the passing game, and has some trouble with speed rushers. He is a better run blocker IMO. He has good size for a RT, and has good feet. He was a former TE, and was the fastest lineman at the combine running a 4.88. Injuries could drop him to the mid second round where the Cowboys pick.

T Marcus McNeil
- If your looking for a RT with size and great athletic ability, thereâ€â"¢s no better than McNeil. He is quite simply huge. He has long arms and is somehow very quick for his size. He is solid at run blocking and pass blocking, and has good feet. He is a better RT than LT IMO. Because of his size, he tends to play too uptight I think, and that could cause problems. However, his size still makes it real hard to get around him. The major question is his back. He will be medically tested as much as any player at the combine. A back injury always scares off teams when it comes to offensive tackles. He could drop because of it into the mid second round. The Cowboys spent a lot of time with him at the Sr. Bowl, and he is real possibility in the 2nd round, not 1st I think. I wouldnâ€â"¢t be surprised if McNeil becomes a dominant Pro Bowl tackle.

Honorable Mention: Daryn Colledge, Andrew Whitworth

Note: If you have a subject that you're dying to debate with the community, send it to Raul. The link is in the left hand column.