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Cowboys 2012 Draft: Who Might Be Dallas' Third-Round Prospects

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Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Yesternight's blockbuster trade has had the Cowboys-centric Interwebs and airwaves joyously spinning out of control all day today. Tonight, we will have to endure the ugly side-effects, as we sit (im)patiently by as the rest of the league makes some 50-odd selections before your beloved 'Boys again find themselves on the clock. It would certainly be much easier to predict who the Cowboys were going to select if they still had the 45th pick. They don't, so this venture becomes much more speculative. Nevertheless, we have several methods that may help us to approach our speculations with some small amount of clarity. I want to look at several pieces of information and/ or reliable draft sources, using each as a platform for considering who, or at least what position, might be the apple of Dallas' eye at pick # 81.

1. Ask the Joneses: In last night's post-pick press conference, Jerry mentioned that the organization had targeted three distinct areas of need: defensive back, pass rusher and the interior offensive line. With the Claiborne pick, that leaves pass rush and interior O-line as targets still to be hit. Of course, the third round is also expected to be rich at cornerback, with the likes of Casey Hayward, Jamell Fleming, and perhaps even Brandon Boykin available. But would the Cowboys go to the well twice in two "premium" picks. I think not, so I'll limit my list of possibilities to OC, OG, DL, OLB and safety. Here are some guys at each of these positions that might well be around in the middle of the third round:

Center:
Ben Jones, Georgia
David Molk, Michigan
Philip Blake, Baylor

Offensive Guard:
Brandon Brooks, Ohio
Tony Bergstrom, Utah
Kelechi Osmele, Iowa State

Defensive End:
Derek Wolfe Cincinnati
Billy Wynn, Boise State

Outside Linebacker:
Cam Johnson, VIrginia

Safety:
George Iloka, Boise State
Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State

Wanna check out other ways of looking at third-round possibilities? Make the jump...

2. Mocking the Draft's List of Remaining Players: Matthew Fairburn, one of the fine folks at SB Nation's draft arm, Mocking the Draft, has generously compiled a handy list of the best players remaining on the board. Here are some of the names clustered around the 81st pick (the numbers preceding the name are where the player is ranked on MTD's big board:

74. Joe Adams | 5'10 1/2, 174 pounds | Wide receiver | Arkansas
75. Jared Crick | 6'4, 285 pounds | Defensive end/tackle | Nebraska
77. Brian Quick | 6'3 1/2, 222 pounds | Wide receiver | Appalachian State
78. Kirk Cousins | 6'3, 205 pounds | Quarterback | Michigan State
79. Michael Egnew | 6'5 1/4, 252 pounds | Tight end | Missouri
80. Stephen Hill | 6'4, 206 pounds | Wide receiver | Georgia Tech
81. Mychal Kendricks | 5'11, 240 pounds | Middle linebacker | California
84. Robert Turbin | 5'9, 215 pounds | Running back | Utah State
85. Brandon Brooks | 6'4 5/8, 353 pounds | Guard | Miami (Ohio)
87. Jonathan Masaquoi | 6'2, 270 pounds | Defensive end | Troy
88. Chase Minniefield | 6'0, 185 pounds | Cornerback | Virginia
89. Marvin Jones | 6'1 7/8, 198 pounds | Wide receiver | California
92. LaMichael James | 5'9, 195 pounds | Running back | Oregon
93. Chris Givens | 6'0, 195 pounds | Wide receiver | Wake Forest
94. Cam Johnson | 6'3 3/8, 267 pounds | Defensive end | Virginia

I think there are several real possibilities from among this list. And don't assume that Dallas won't take a wide receiver with their next pick. This draft is deep at the position, especially in rounds three and four, so if they are interested in anything resembling a "BPA" philosophy, a wideout becomes a real possibility.

3. Rabble's "Little Board": Using the series of pre-draft profile posts, I compiled a "little board" from the players the Cowboys invited to Valley Ranch for pre-draft visits (you can check it out here if you so desire). Looking at the board, the third-round possibilities are rather limited:

Jeff Allen, OT
Casey Hayward, CB
Jamell Fleming, CB

Yawn. However, given the above statement re: WRs, there are a couple of receivers to whom I gave fourth or fifth round grades that Dallas may well have graded more highly:

Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
T.Y. Hilton, Florida International

4. What the League Thinks (according to PFW): Those of you who follow my posts know that I think the world of the Dallas Morning News' Rick Gosselin as a draftnik. Sadly, he wasn't able to compile his annual "top 100" list, which is derived not from his own assumptions but by polling NFL insiders. As a result, its consistently the most accurate barometer of what the league thinks about the incoming draft class. This year, the gents at Pro Football Weekly were kind enough to engage in a similar exercise, asking personnel types about the prospects and then assembling their thoughts into an exclusive draft value board.

They break each round down into three sections: picks 1-10 are the "A" section; picks 11-21 are in the "B" section and 22-32 fall into the "C" category. Looking at their chart, here are the ten guys that league insiders reportedly see as belonging in "3B," the middle of the third round, where pick number 81 is to be found:

Offense:
Isiah Pead, RB
Chris Givens, WR
David Molk, OC
Tony Bergstrom, OG
Kelechi Osmele, OT

Defense:
Bruce Irvin, DE-OLB
Josh Chapman, DT
Derek Wolfe, DT
Bobby Wagner, LB
Jamell Fleming, CB

There you have it, BTB Nation. As you know, Jerry Jones reads us religiously, so here's your chance to influence the draft. See anybody on these lists that you'd like to see in a Cowboys uniform? If so, hit the comments section and make your case!

Enjoy day two. More commentary, opinion and random speculation sure to follow...