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Consensus gelling around the Cowboys draft strategy

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The San Antonio Express-News joins the rest of the media in its analysis of the upcoming Cowboys' draft. Everywhere you look the same names keep popping up in mock drafts and analyst opinions. At linebacker it's Bobby Carpenter and Manny Lawson - with a sprinkling of Kamerion Wimbley. The other hot spot is FS with Donte Whitner and Jason Allen. Occasionally you'll see WR's Holmes or Jackson, and OT Winston Justice still shows up every now and then, although he's sure to be gone by our pick. So unless we trade down or up, or someone tumbles down the charts - like Terry points out in his diary about Jay Cutler - we know the parameters of our pick.

Jerry Jones has given us more clues by pronouncing defense a priority and he's also said that FS might be addressed in later rounds. Bringing Marcus Coleman on board reinforces that idea. The odds say if we stay at #18 and nothing unusual happens before us, Bobby Carpenter, Manny Lawson or maybe Kamerion Wimbley will be the pick.

Here's the Express-News' take:

Considering that outside linebackers are the most important positions in the 3-4 scheme, it wouldn't be a surprise if Dallas selects the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Carpenter, who many scouts say is the draft's best blitzer and is rated ahead of Lawson.

Lawson also could boost the Cowboys' pass rush. He carries only 240 pounds on a 6-5 frame and has been compared to Miami Dolphins end Jason Taylor, a top speed rusher.

[snip]

Carpenter, in particular, would be an "outstanding fit" for Dallas, [FOX Sports Chris] Landry said. Carpenter had eight sacks for the Buckeyes last season while playing in the shadow of A.J. Hawk, the draft's top-rated linebacker.

"He is a really good rusher, very instinctive and a big-time playmaker," Landry said of Carpenter. "He's also really good in coverage."

Put one in the Carpenter column, I think coming down the stretch we have a dead heat between Carpenter and Lawson.

But, Dallas desperately wants to get a 4th round pick. The 4th round is always an interesting one, because it kicks off the second day of the draft. Teams go home and talk about all the guys who managed to slip out of the first day, and get ready to pounce at the start of the second day. Dallas could trade down in the first to get a fourth or they could shop players or future picks for a chance to jump back into the 4th round.

Here's Jerry:

"There's no question, when we get there, on the second day, we're going to be dying if we don't have a fourth-round pick," Jones said. "There's always a handful of players that you just can't believe are still sitting there."