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BTB NFL Draft Mailbag: What To Do At Number 40?

Its time for the latest installment of our draft mailbag, a feature wherein you, the BTB community, send in draft-related questions and Drafttek's Longball (and, on occasion, one of our front-page writers) draws upon his scouting experience (or, in our case, somewhat informed opinion) to supply you with answers. We'll be running this feature up until the draft, so be sure to send your questions in to't forget to include your username--and I'll send them along the proper channels.

This time around, we have a couple of queries interested in what the Cowboys might do in the second round of the draft, where they currently sit with the fortieth pick in their pockets. In the past couple of weeks, the consensus has been climbing on the Tyron Smith bandwagon; this tide was in no way stemmed by his showing at USC's pro day earlier this week. With it an ever-growing consensus (at least for now; the draft winds change frequently) that he will be the pick at # 9, people are turning their attention to what options Dallas might have at # 40. Given that most of us perceive the Cowboys' needs to be, in roughly this order, OT, Safety, DL, CB, OG, ILB, it makes sense that, if an offensive tackle were to be taken in the first round, the Cowboys would be looking at secondary or defensive line in the second. Indeed, our draft-related daily double speaks directly to this; we have one question about each of these positions vis-a-vis the eighth pick in round two.

See the questions and Longball's sage responses after the jump...

Whitewolf: Who is that one player at pick 40 that could be a starter in the Cowboys secondary?

Longball: Let me answer that questions a couple of different ways - if you're wanting to know if there is a DB available at #40 that would start for the Cowboys in 2011, I doubt it unless DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson slides a bit and Dallas picks up a veteran FS to call coverages and coach up the rookie SS. Aaron Williams of Texas might start at CB if Newman or Jenkins get injured, but I don't see him starting at FS as a rookie.

Now, if the question means becoming an eventual starter, Davon House of New Mexico State and Curtis Brown of Texas (and the aforementioned Williams) could eventually start at CB (or in the case of Williams, FS) and Rahim Moore of UCLA could be an eventual starter at FS. You have probably surmised that I think the Cowboys need a veteran presence at one of the safety positions.

Jason Haby: Assuming that the Cowboys take an offensive tackle in the first round, which of the following defensive tackles will still be around when they pick again, and of those available, which one should they choose? Because Dallas has the ability to slide Ratliff to the DE spot, I'm including both DTs and NTs. Here's the list of players: Marvin Austin, Lawrence Guy, Anthony Gray, Cameron Heyward, Phil Taylor, and Stephen Paea. Thanks.

Longball: Of the names you mentioned, only Stephen Paea of Oregon State should be drafted in the 1st round - and despite his bench-press prowess, at 295 he does not fit as a 3-4 DL prospect. Marvin Austin is also a bit "smallish", as he is more of a penetrating 3-technique DT that fits the 4-3 alignment much better.

Cameron Heyward's stock has dipped from 1st round to early 2nd, and he would be good value as a DE34 at pick #40. Even though I have not assigned a high grade to Phil Taylor, he is the consensus #1 NT prospect and with the number of teams adopting the scheme, some one may reach for him. Guy should be available in the 4th round and Gray should be available even later in the draft.

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