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Drafting linemen not a Cowboys specialty

Todd Archer lays bare the Cowboys failings at drafting linemen in an article at the DMN (sub. required). It's not a pretty picture but there have been a few successes like Larry Allen in the 2nd round in 1994 and Flozell Adams in the 2nd round in 1998. But for every Erik Williams there has been a Jacob Rogers. Here are some possibilites for this year's draft.

Maybe the Cowboys will break the string if they choose Southern Cal's Winston Justice, whom they had in for a predraft visit, in the first round Saturday. Or maybe they'll wait to choose Boise State's Daryn Colledge, LSU's Andrew Whitworth or Boston College's Jeremy Trueblood in the later rounds.

How has Parcells done in Dallas drafting linemen? Not to good if you ask me. Archer gives us the skinny.

In Parcells' first three years with the Cowboys, they have selected five offensive linemen, starting with Al Johnson in the second round of the 2003 draft and ending with Rob Petitti in the sixth round last year.

Johnson, who missed his rookie year with a knee injury, and Petitti became starters in their first seasons. Justin Bates, a seventh-round pick in 2003, failed to make the team, and Rogers was a flop and recently cut after failing to play an offensive snap. Stephen Peterman, a third-round pick in 2004, has yet to make an impact.

Al Johnson is a starter but is not seen as part of the upper class of centers in the league. He could get a serious challenge at center from Andre Gurode this year, who the Cowboys think is a better center than guard. Petitti gave it his all last year, but just isn't starting material yet. Peterman would seem to be on his last chance this year, who knows if he'll make it out of camp. Jacob Rogers is gone and not a moment too soon. Pretty uneven record for the Tuna.

Nick Eatman examines the RB position and concludes the Cowboys are probably set at the position for 2006. The only wild-card thrown into the mix is USC's LenDale White.

In fact, the Cowboys took a hard look at Southern Cal's LenDale White last week, bringing in the bruising tailback for a visit to Valley Ranch.

The Cowboys might be thinking of improving their short-yardage and goal-line running, and White (6-1, 235) certainly could provide that, scoring 56 rushing touchdowns in just three collegiate seasons.

But the most interesting part of the article is looking back at a past draft, as was the case with TE a couple of days ago. This time it was 1990 and the Emmitt Smith selection.

Sitting with the 21st overall pick in the 1990 draft, the Cowboys were trying to get up to the middle of the first round. Head coach Jimmy Johnson had his eyes on Baylor linebacker James Francis, but when Cincinnati grabbed him with the 12th pick, it appeared the Cowboys would just stand pat. However, one player who piqued their interest continued to fall.

The player? None other than Florida running back Emmitt Smith. So the Cowboys made the move, switching places in the first round with Pittsburgh and giving up a third-round pick for the right to move to 17, where they were only too happy grab Smith.

Once again, disaster averted by the luck of the draw. If the Bengals hadn't picked LB James Francis, the Cowboys might have and Emmitt Smith would never have played in Dallas. Just imagine that for a second.

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