2012 NFL Draft: 3 Players the Dallas Cowboys Should Take a Chance on
Who can forget the disastrous 2009 draft? The only players remaining are backup quarterback Stephen McGee, reserve outside linebacker Victor Butler and second-string tight end John Phillips. I would include kicker David Buehler, but the writing seems to be on the wall for his return.
Granted, the Cowboys have had some success in the draft, taking Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware and Mike Jenkins. However, their late-round picks rarely seem to make an impact before finding themselves on the practice squad or chopping block.
In the spirit of finding contributors for the coming season, here are three players the 'Boys should take a chance on in April. Whether they're highly rated or not, the talent to contribute is there.
Janoris Jenkins, CB- North Alabama
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Many mock drafts have the Cowboys taking Jenkins and pairing him with his namesake, incumbent starter Mike Jenkins.
Personal and off-the-field issues aside, the Cowboys need a corner who can blanket a receiver on command. The secondary has been a concern for more than a decade. It's time to add the kind of playmaker who can take pressure off Ware and the defensive line when they can't get to the QB.
Besides, Jenkins & Jenkins would make a great marketing slogan for a renewed emphasis on excellence in the secondary.
Case Keenum, QB, Houston
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Case Keenum is the FBS career leader in passing yards and attempts, as well as total touchdowns. While his 6'2", 210-pound frame doesn't leave scouts drooling, his college statistics and 13-1 record in his final season at Houston have to raise some eyebrows.
Tony Romo is the unquestioned starter at QB. All the success of 2012 will be predicated on his ability to lead an offense built around him.
Behind him, however, Jon Kitna has retired and moved on, while Stephen McGee has shown flashes in limited action that he can be a serviceable reserve.
But with no long-term commitment to McGee, rumbles of signing a veteran QB are out there. I'd rather see the Cowboys pursue Keenum, who can sling it with the best of them. With Jason Garrett running a pass-happy offense, Keenum also could be a future starter and a bargain if taken in the fifth round or later.
Jacquies Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
Smith (middle), takes down DeMarco Murray in a 2010 Missouri-OU game.
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Jacquies Smith is an underrated prospect. He's a 6'4", 255-pound hand-down defensive end from Missouri, who was somewhat playing out of position and still managed to lead the Tigers in sacks (5.0) and forced fumbles (4), while finishing second on the team in tackles for loss (9.0).
He wouldn't be a DE in the Cowboys' 3-4 system. He has the versatility and athleticism to stand up opposite Ware and be a pass-rusher in his first year in the league. While he's raw, the athletic ability is what has scouts keeping him in the top 20 at his position.
Projected to go in the 6th round or later by most mock drafts, the Cowboys could afford to take a chance on whatever production he brings in his first year, specifically if they decide to franchise Anthony Spencer.
While any comparisons to his former teammate, Aldon Smith of the 49ers, are unwarranted, Smith could be a solid late-round pick-up for a team looking for pass-rushing help.
After an 8-8 finish and two consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, Dallas can't afford to leave any rock unturned on draft night. Smith could be one of those rocks, helping the Cowboys to find gold in the late rounds for the first time in a few seasons.