2012 NFL Draft: 5 Dallas Cowboys 7th Round Pick Candidates with Best Outlooks
Finding a good seventh round pick is difficult.
Many players available in the seventh round don't have impressive measurements. Some might be small college standouts, while others might have significant college resumes but pronounced mechanical limitations.
The Dallas Cowboys would likely end up drafting one of those types of players when drafting in the last round.
Fortunately, Jerry Jones has managed to find the Cowboys serviceable players in the seventh round of the draft. The likes of Omar Stoutmire and Jay Ratliff come to mind.
Can Jones find a nice plug for the defense in the last round?
Could he discover a special teams gem?
Follow along to see five players who could make things happen for the Cowboys coming out of the seventh round.
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Case Keenum had a special career at Houston.
He set the Division I-A records for passing yards (19,217) and touchdowns (155). He threw for more than 5,000 yards as a senior and led Houston to victory against a Penn State team reeling from the Jerry Sandusky scandal 31-17 in the Ticket City Bowl.
Keenum will try to make his career less like DI-A passing record holders Timmy Chang and Colt Brennan, and more the likes of Ty Detmer.
Keenum has some of the things the Cowboys would like to see at quarterback. He has a nice over-the-top release. He's gutsy. His pocket passing instincts are sound. Also, Keenum is great at hitting receivers inside 15 yards.
However, he has a problem hitting guys beyond 15 yards. Kind of like me.
Keenum has to put extra muscle into the pass to make a solid deep pass. That could give defenses a hook. Also, Keenum took almost all his snaps from the shotgun, which puts his ability to take snaps under center in question.
Still, Keenum has many of the tools a quarterback needs.
If Romo were to get injured, the Cowboys could call upon Keenum to step in and be a game manager. Keenum would be able to play trustworthy ball, even if he can't make the long throws. He wouldn't make bad passes or create turnovers.
Keenum just might be able to join Kevin Kolb as the only relevant quarterbacks to come out of Houston.
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Devon Wylie is a pure speed guy who could make it in the NFL as a return man. Wylie had a solid year in the return game in 2011, posting a 15.4-yard punt return average.
Wylie had hoped to run a sub-4.3 40-yard dash at the combine, as he told the Fresno Bee, but his 4.39 time is still one of the best among wide receiver prospects.
Wylie is small at 5'9" and 182 pounds, but his speed is elusive.
The catch with Wylie is that he suffered through injuries in his first four years at Fresno State.
Wylie could be a nice addition to the Cowboys to re-energize the return game.
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T.J. Graham is one of those big college player who has strong upside, but also has one significant drawback.
Graham was electric as a return man in his four years at North Carolina State. He averaged 25.1 yards per kick return as a freshman, and brought a kick back 100 yards for a touchdown against Boston College.
As a senior, Graham averaged 22.5 yards per kick return and 12.1 yards per punt return.
He totaled four returns for touchdowns in his career with the Wolfpack.
Graham is a speed guy, just like Devon Wylie, although he has more potential to make it as a receiver. In 2011, Graham had 45 catches for 757 yards and seven touchdowns. He had a big showing in the Belk Bowl against Louisville, pulling in seven catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Graham entered the NFL Combine with one of the fastest listed 40-yard dash times at 4.36, but timed out in Indianapolis at only 4.41 seconds. Maybe he'll do better at his pro day.
He's a bit undersized at 5'11" and 188 pounds, which might hurt his shot at wide receiver a bit.
The drawback with Graham is that he can fumble periodically. He had 12 fumbles in his Wolfpack career.
Still, Graham has a good chance at being at the NFL level as a return man with his breakaway speed.
Shawn Loiseau was a standout Division II player at Merrimack.
In 2011, Loiseau received a place on the Division II All-American list while earning his second Northeast 10 Defensive Player of the Year award, totaling 121 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.
Loiseau put forth a good performance in the Shrine Game, calling plays and showing good leadership.
Loiseau has only average size (6'0" 241 pounds), but exhibits great instincts and a great desire to develop as a player.
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com predicted, "He will be a special teams standout at worst and will make it tough for coaches to cut him."
The Cowboys had their share of troubles on special teams last season, and the issue could lie just as much with blocking and coverage as with the return man.
Loiseau would be a good pick to shape up the special teams and add depth at inside linebacker.
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Tank Carder of TCU is one of those players who looks like a great prospect, but is overlooked because other players, (in the eyes of scouts) seem to have more impressive traits.
Carder was a coaches first team All-American in 2010 and was a third-team Associated Press All-American in 2011.
He was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year both years.
On New Year's Day of 2011, Carder was the Defensive MVP in TCU's Rose Bowl victory against Wisconsin. Carder had six tackles, including three for loss and broke up a pass on Wisconsin's potential game-tying two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
Carder has many of the traits that teams would like in an inside linebacker. He has great instincts, a knack for tracking the ball in the air and great leadership skills. His speed (4.69-second 40 yard dash) is good. He'll elude blocks and take down ball carriers with his strong hands. Carder can drop back and play effectively in zone coverage.
The downfall for Carder, who stands 6'2" and weighs 236 pounds, is his unimpressive upper body strength.
Still, Carder is a must for the Cowboys to pick if they come across him in the seventh round.
He has the tools to make it far in the NFL.