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Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades

Jeff ShullAnalyst IApril 26, 2012

Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades

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    If you're looking for a place to see updated analysis on the Dallas Cowboys draft, you have found it.

    The 2012 NFL draft begins with the first round on Thursday night and continues all the way until Saturday. This slideshow will post each Cowboys pick as soon as possible with analysis and final grades. 

    The Cowboys have been rumored to be trading down, which makes sense considering Jerry Jones has done so 75 percent of the time in his first rounds. Last year marked the first time Jones stood pat since 2003.

    So, expect the Cowboys to be very active tonight, and when they actually do make their selection, be sure to check back to find out who it was! 

Team Needs

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    The Dallas Cowboys were very active in free agency this year, signing several players that will go a long way in fixing their major issues from last season.

    Brandon Carr, Brodney Pool and Dan Connor will help the Cowboys' issues on defense, but they could still stand to add a safety early.

    Mark Barron has been linked to the Cowboys, but someone could be looking to jump the Cowboys to take him. 

    They could also move down and take a player that will help the front three in their 3-4 defense, such as Michael Brockers or Dontari Poe. 

    Despite signing two interior offensive linemen, the Cowboys could still add a game-changer like David DeCastro, who would do wonders for the rushing attack. 

    Secondary needs are weapons for Tony Romo, as Dallas lost both Martellus Bennett and Laurent Robinson. But the Cowboys have some depth at those positions, so that can be addressed later. 

Round 1, Pick 6: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

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    The Dallas Cowboys surprised everyone when they decided to move up in the draft and select LSU standout cornerback Morris Claiborne. 

    In my opinion this bolts the Cowboys to the top of the division as it will be very hard to move the ball against them. They were already good against the run, and now with a secondary that rivals the Eagles, their defense can put it all together and be a top 10 unit. 

    Here is what Mel Kiper has to say about Claiborne. 

    Claiborne's aptitude for the game, his instincts for the position and his approach to preparation are sound. A true technician, he's an exceptional pure corner with impeccable instincts. Ready to start. 

    Obviously the Cowboys did not give up their second round pick and the 14th overall pick to have Claiborne ride the bench. He and Brandon Carr will be the starting corners, making the Cowboys one of the more dangerous teams in the division at locking down receivers.

    Claiborne is the total packages and has no weaknesses in my eyes. To only give up a second round pick for the best shut down corner to come out in a long time is worth it. Great move by the Cowboys.

    Grade: A+ 

Round 3, Pick 81: Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State

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    The Cowboys feel it necessary to keep upgrading their defense, this time making the 81st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft a defensive lineman. If Rob Ryan cannot succeed with the high number of caliber players the Cowboys have brought in, he'll quickly see his rear-end on the unemployment line. 

    Tyrone Crawford was a force for Boise State and would look great as a 3-4 defensive end for the Cowboys. He was graded as a second rounder by many and could be a steal in the third. The Cowboys now have multiple players who can play in the front three of their defense. Crawford could stand to gain a few pounds in order to take on multiple blockers.

    Check the full scouting report here. 

    The Cowboys are reportedly shopping Mike Jenkins after picking up Morris Claiborne in the first round, but I wouldn't expect them to receive a pick in this round. 

    Jerry Jones seems to know what he's doing this year. The Cowboys have been one of the more active teams all offseason, and they look like the team to beat in the NFC East.

    All of that said, I feel the Cowboys should have went after a safety.  

    Grade B+ 

Round 4, Pick 113: Kyle Wilber, OLB, Wake Forest

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    With the 113th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys have taken Kyle Wilber, outside linebacker from Wake Forest. Check out the scouting report from Bleacher Report.  

    It seems as if every team in the NFC East has now figured out the easiest way to fix a pass defense is to bolster the pass rush. Wilber has the chance to make an immediate impact for the Cowboys as a situational pass rusher. 

    Here is what Scouts, Inc. had to say on Wilber. 

    "Best attribute will be as a pass-rusher. Has ample experience playing with his hand in the dirt and displays natural pass rushing ability. Possesses an above-average initial get off and flashes ability to bend the edge and shave the corner. Also displays a wide variety of pass-rushing moves including an effective inside swim move. Also uses hands well as a counter puncher. Needs to develop more finishing power, though, which could improve by adding more bulk with a few offseasons in the weight room. Has experience dropping into coverage and can hold up in underneath coverage. However, lacks elite fluidity and will have limitations if matched up in man coverage. "

    I like the pick. The Giants won both their Super Bowls as a result of a dominant pass rush, and the Eagles have made a move to upgrade their pass rush with Vinny Curry. 

    Grade: A-

Round 4, Pick 135: Matt Johnson, S, Eastern Washington

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    With the 135th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys have selected Matt Johnson, safety from Eastern Washington. This has a chance to be one of the steals of the draft. 

    Combining the facts that he played at a small school and he missed most of the 2011 season due to injury, you can see why he was a middle-round project. 

    Check out the scouting report on Johnson. 

    The Cowboys signed Brodney Pool in the offseason, but they still needed help at the safety position. Johnson is a terrific athlete that moves well enough sideline to sideline. He can read the quarterback's eyes well and reacts with the best of any safety in the class. He collected 17 interceptions in 45 games at EWU.

    He is great in run defense and has a chance to become a starter early in his career. 

    Grade: B+

Round 5, Pick 152: Danny Coale WR, Virginia Tech

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    With the 152nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys have selected Danny Coale, wide receiver from Virginia Tech. Coale finished with a number of Tech's school records, but his mark on the Cowboys' roster will be made from the slot receiver spot.

    Check out Coale's scouting report from Bleacher Report.  

    At around 6'0'', 200 lbs, he is undersized but makes up for that with above-average speed and pinpoint route running. Coale had one of the better combines from the wide receiver spot, showing off precise route running and great hands. Slipped a bit due to an injury in the East-West Shrine game, but is a durable player that can take the hits over the middle. 

    He played in 55 games in his college career and has impeccable character. He works hard and puts the team first. If he does not contribute as a wide receiver immediately, he'll be a great special teams addition. 

    Grade: A

Round 6, Pick 186: James Hanna, TE, Oklahoma

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    With the 186th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys have selected speedster tight end James Hanna from the Oklahoma. 

    With longest tenured Cowboy Jason Witten and John Phillips already on the roster as good, solid run blockers and overall players, it was worth it for the Cowboys to take a project like Hanna. 

    Hanna ran a blazing 4.49 at the Combine and showed off some pretty incredible athleticism. He had limited production at Oklahoma, but learning behind Witten could do wonders for his ability. Will never be a great run blocker, but could be a weapon in the red zone and creating mismatches on the outside. 

    The tight end position is evolving, and athletic specimen are getting more shots to succeed with the emergence of Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez. Hanna has great size to make it tough for corners to cover him, as well as elite speed to make it impossible to place a linebacker on him.

    His main weakness is blocking, but it becomes a non-factor when you have the depth the Cowboys have at the position.  

    The Cowboys are having a pretty solid draft so far. Some thought Hanna was as high as a fourth-round prospect. Good value here. 

    Grade: A 

Round 7, Pick 222: Caleb McSurdy, MLB, Montana

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    With the 222nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected Montana inside linebacker Caleb McSurdy. 

    In the later rounds you try to find gems, guys who will be solid backups, or guys who can contribute on special teams. To me, McSurdy feels like the latter. He worked out as both a linebacker and fullback at his Pro Day, showing both his versatility and willingness to do whatever a team asks of him.

    Played running back and tight end in high school, so he offers some upside if the Cowboys move him to fullback.

    Grade: C 

Dallas Cowboys 2012 NFL Draft Report Card

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    Round 1, Pick 6: Morris Claiborne, CB

    The Cowboys gave up their second-round pick to get Claiborne, who is without question the best corner in this draft. Great cover guy, great move by Jerry Jones Grade: A+

    Round 3, Pick 81: Tyrone Crawford, DE

    Crawford has a chance to be a solid starter as a 3-4 defensive end. Pass defense was an issue with the Cowboys, and Crawford can get after the QB. Grade: B+ 

    Round 4, Pick 113: Kyle Wilber, OLB 

    You can never have enough pass rushers, and that is Wilber's specialty. Will be good backup to DeMarcus Ware in the short-term, could be ready to start in two or three years. Grade: A- 

    Round 4, Pick 135: Matt Johnson, S

    Cowboys waited a little later than I would have liked to see to grab a safety, but still got a potential starter in the fourth round. Grade: B+

    Round 5, Pick 152: Danny Coale WR

    Coale has Wes Welker like attributes, which could be an incredible weapon in the slot for Tony Romo. Grade: A

    Round 6, Pick 186: James Hanna, TE

    Jason Witten and John Phillips allowed this luxury pick. Hanna is a freakish athlete with tight end body size. Grade: A

    Round 7, Pick  222: Caleb McSurdy, MLB

    The only pick I didn't like, but he could be a contributor on special teams, which is a plus in the late rounds. Grade: C

    OVERALL DRAFT GRADE: A

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