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Who Are The Potential Starters Among Cowboys Seventh-Round Picks?

The Cowboys have had starters emerge from the ranks of their seventh-round picks in the past. Are there eventual starters among the five seventh-rounders from this year's draft class?

Rick Yeatts

In the 10 drafts between 2004 and 2013, the Cowboys selected 15 players with a seventh-round pick. Of those 15 players, four became eventual starters in their third or fourth NFL season, as the table below shows.

Cowboys 7th-rounders
Drafted Player Starter
2004 Patrick Crayton 2007 (4th season)
2004 Jacques Reeves 2007 (4th season)
2005 Jay Ratliff 2007 (3rd season)
2007 Alan Ball 2010 (4th season)

The Cowboys got more contributors than just these four players. 2010-pick Sean Lissemore looked like a good fit for the 3-4 defense, but was eventually traded to the Chargers for a seventh-round pick. Josh Brent was taken with the seventh pick in the 2010 supplemental draft and looked like an option for the 1-technique before his involvement in a fatal DWI incident. 2007-pick Pat McQuistan was a seventh-round pick in 2006 who was traded to Miami for a sixth-round pick.

This year, the Cowboys selected an unprecedented five players in the seventh round. Going by the Cowboys' record with seventh-rounders over the last ten years, one to two of those rookies could eventually emerge as starters, with one or two more becoming contributors.

David Moore of the Dallas Morning News came to a similar conclusion in a recent chart, when he was asked which seventh-round picks could be starters in 2-3 years.

I think you could see one or two of these players in the starting lineup down the road. Defensive lineman Ben Gardner would be my first choice, but Will Smith has good speed at linebacker and cornerback Terrance Mitchell has a certain swagger to him. The one seventh round pick I didn't mention was Ken Bishop, and he has the capability to start as the 1-technique defensive tackle in this scheme down the road. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Moore mentions everybody but safety Ahmad Dixon in his answer. Which 2014 seventh-round player do you think will eventually emerge as a starter for the Cowboys?

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