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Cowboys Draft '11: A Look Forward to What Was Left Behind

That's right, your eyes are not deceiving you.  We're already looking at the 2011 draft here at Blogging the Boys, just a few weeks after the 2010 rookie fiesta.

Forecasting what the Cowboys will pursue next April is easy -  look at the positions they explored in depth this year and last, but did not take.  Guard, center and cornerback top this list, with defense end a distant fourth.  The Cowboys missed on Max Under in '09 and had Mike Iuputi and Maurkice Pouncey on their short list this year.  Corner was also considered, though Dez Bryant's fall shuffled the Cowboys' plans. The Cowboys will also have to sort out which of its many free-agent DEs in waiting stay and which go.

Today's release of Cory Proctor and Duke Preston reinforces the need to re-stock at the interior line spots.

Okay, so we know where the Cowboys are looking, but to whom will they turn?  BTB's new best friend Wes Bunting has some ideas.  If you missed it, SB Nation has formed a relationship with The National Football Post, where Bunting runs the draft shop.  And if you've neglected NFP since the draft, shame on you!.  Bunting has just concluded his list of the top 100 college prospects.  Of particular interest to me is his 21-40 cut, which has eleven o-linemen and cornerbacks among its 20 members.  Forecasting draft picks a year out is like forecasting the 2016 Presidential elections.  It seems like folly, but the good news is that the 2011 cupboard seems well stocked at the Cowboys' positions of need.

I asked Bunting to give me a handful of O-line prospects who fit the Cowboys profile and he kindly obliged.  Join me over the jump for his reply:

OL Mike Pouncey: Florida (6-5, 310)
A massive interior lineman who will make the move to center this year. Possesses good power on contact and is a pretty good athlete for the his size. Exhibits a skill set similar to the one of twin brother Maurkice Pouncey who the Steelers drafted in the first round this season.

Possible selection: Rounds 1/3

OG John Moffitt: Wisconsin (6-5, 320)
A physical in-line blocker who plays with a mean streak and is at his best when asked to win off the ball in the run game. Isn't an elite athlete, but works hard and knows how to stick to blocks inside.

Possible selection: Rounds 2/3

OL Benjamin Ijalana: Villanova (6-4, 320)
A downright dominant small-school offensive lineman with the power and fluidity to mature into a very capable NFL interior presence. Reminds me a bit of Jets 2nd round pick Vladimir Ducasse and could really move up draft boards with a strong year.

Possible selection: Rounds 2/3

There are many more OL prospects.  At first glance, 2011's appears a deeper offensive lineman group than 2010's.  Don't take my word for it.  Click on Bunting's profiles and see for yourself.

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