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Cowboys eyeing safeties and linebackers in draft

You can't sleep on Nick Eatman or he'll slide an article or two by you. Eatman is breaking down each position group, starting on defense. We discussed the CB's yesterday. Today he has the review of safeties and linebackers up.

Starting with the safeties:

There is at least one safety in this year's draft expected to be a game-changer. Too bad the Cowboys are sitting with the 18th pick, probably about 10 spots too late to have the opportunity of selecting Texas defensive back Michael Huff.

Hah! Doesn't Eatman know that I already drafted Huff for us in the mock draft? Guess the news hasn't traveled to him yet. But seriously, Huff will be gone and Eatman likes these guys as potential targets.

But Huff isn't the only safety expected to go in the first round. Ohio State's Donte Whitner and Tennessee's Jason Allen, who can also play cornerback, seemingly have both worked themselves into the first round. South Carolina's Ko Simpson has seen his stock drop just a bit from the late first round to possibly a second-round pick.

Dallas has a big decision to make here. If they match the offer and keep Keith Davis, they give themselves some options. If they let Davis go, they are going to have a lot of pressure to find a starting free safety and might not feel comfortable waiting until later in the draft. If they are still thinking about Marcus Coleman as a free agent, that would also give them some flexibility. Tune in on Tuesday for the Davis decision.

Now for linebackers:

Now Ohio State's A.J. Hawk is considered the best of the group, and should be long gone before the Cowboys pick at No. 18. But after that, the likes of Iowa's Chad Greenway, Florida State's Ernie Sims, Ohio State's Bobby Carpenter or Alabama's DeMeco Ryans all could be around for the Cowboys' first pick.

Eatman is naming the traditional linebackers that played on the outside in college. Everybody knows I like Bobby Carpenter for this pick if we go LB. He's big and athletic and can also rush the passer when asked to. I think he's the right combination of skills for the SOLB.

I know a lot of you guys are hot on a tweener DE for this position, and while Eatman doesn't name any of them, he acknowledges the Cowboys could go that way.

But all three are traditional linebackers. Finding a run-stopper who can get to the quarterback on first and second downs would take some of the offensive attention away from Ware. Who knows, since the conversion worked so well with Ware last year, the Cowboys might also be considering an agile defensive end for that linebacker spot.

Kamerion Wimbley and Manny Lawson are the top candidates if we go that route.

Finally, I had to get a plug in for my boy from GT, LB Gerris Wilkinson.

The top inside linebackers include Maryland's D'Qwell Jackson, Iowa's Abdul Hodge and Gerris Wilkinson of Georgia Tech.

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