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2012 NFL Draft: Top 5 Players Dallas Cowboys Should Try to Get in 1st Round

Tom FirmeAnalyst IISeptember 29, 2015

2012 NFL Draft: Top 5 Players Dallas Cowboys Should Try to Get in 1st Round

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    Dallas Cowboys have been waiting for April 26 for quite some time. Months of draft talk has occurred, even going back to the unconscionable draft talk during the 2011 season. The main question has centered around what the Cowboys would do in the first round.

    Visions have been going through the heads of Cowboys fans about the first-round possibilities. Some have argued for the popular pick of Mark Barron, the safety from Alabama. Others have opined that Jerry Jones should choose Stanford guard David DeCastro.

    Others yet refuse to put a thought on the often unpredictable Jones.

    On Thursday night, the wait will be over for Cowboys fans. Finally, the player who could be the difference-maker of the future will be drafted.

    Following is a ranking of five players the Cowboys should target in the first round.

5. Fletcher Cox

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    Fletcher Cox is the best defensive tackle in the draft. He's a nicely built prospect at 6'4" and 298 pounds. Cox is a strong, powerful tackle who can bust through the offensive line. He gets a great burst off the snap.

    If the Cowboys want to get a defensive tackle who might allow Jay Ratliff to move over to defensive end, Cox would be their guy as long as he's there at No. 14. CBSSports.com projects him at No. 7. The Cowboys might have to hope he falls if they want him.

    They wouldn't want to trade up for Cox since defensive tackle isn't the biggest need for the Cowboys. The interior offensive line and secondary are bigger need areas than defensive tackle. Also, the Cowboys have multiple needs in both areas, which further detracts from the idea of taking Cox.

4. Luke Kuechly

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    Inside linebacker isn't a need position for the Cowboys. However, Luke Kuechly might prove to be a simply irresistible prospect.

    Kuechly is a remarkable prospect. He's an intelligent player, possessing great read skills and terrific instincts. He has great tackling technique, which was on display in his college career as he set a Boston College record in tackles.

    He showed good speed in the NFL combine with a top time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

    Kuechly is ranked No. 12 by CBSSports.com and No. 9 by Pro Football Weekly.

    If the Cowboys were to draft Kuechly, he would make a great combination with Sean Lee, who also is great at reading plays and making tackles.

3. Dre Kirkpatrick

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    Cornerback is a major need position for the Cowboys.The Cowboys had poor cornerback play last season, leading them to release Terence Newman and letting Frank Walker go in free agency.

    The optimal player available for the Cowboys at No. 14 at the position would be Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick is the perfect height for the position at 6'2". He has great ball skills, allowing him to get interceptions or deflect passes. Also, Kirkpatrick has very good speed.

    The two issues with Kirkpatrick are his slight frame and his need to be pushed. The latter issue can be addressed by the fiery defensive coaches in Dallas.

2. Courtney Upshaw

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    Cowboys players other than DeMarcus Ware were lacking in the pass rush last season. Anthony Spencer has six sacks. As a whole, players other than Ware had 21.5 sacks while Ware had 19.5.

    Courtney Upshaw could be the solution to the Cowboys' problems in the pass rush. He's a strong, explosive pass-rusher. He jumps quickly after the snap. He comes in fast and makes hard tackles. Also, Upshaw is a smart player who knows how to read plays.

    Upshaw is ranked No. 24 overall by CBSSports.com and No. 18 by Pro Football Weekly.

    The Alabama product just might be the man to help Ware take down quarterbacks.

1. David DeCastro

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    The Cowboys had trouble at guard last season. Players like Montrae Holland and Derrick Dockery cycled through to help, but it wasn't quite enough to protect Tony Romo.

    David DeCastro could be the guy to help boost the Cowboys interior offensive line. DeCastro has good size at 6'5" and 312 pounds. He has great blocking technique and hand placement. He can block downfield and pull for blocks. He's quick off the snap. DeCastro was one of the staunch blockers for Andrew Luck at Stanford and helped set up a top-notch running game.

    He's ranked No. 16 by CBSSports.com and No. 13 by Pro Football Weekly.

    The Cowboys should consider DeCastro above all other prospects, as he would be a great addition to help protect the biggest asset on the team: Romo.

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