2011 NFL Draft Preview: Top 10 Players Dallas Cowboys Should Now Be Targeting
The Super Bowl will finally happen today in Dallas, TX, and the Dallas Cowboys will be home watching.
After the team, and the whole league, had Super Bowl aspirations coming into this season, the Cowboys will be forced to watch either the Packers or the Steelers hoist the Lombardi Trophy on their home turf.
Jerry Jones has already shown his displeasure for his team this season. It started with the firing of head coach Wade Phillips during the regular season.
Now Jerry Jones and his brass must make some major decisions for April's draft. The Cowboys obviously have a lot of needs to be filled come September.
Here are 10 players that the Cowboys should keep their eyes on come April.
Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska (1st Round)
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I'm not sure if Prince Amukamara will be around at No. 9, but he should definitely be at the top of Jerry Jones' wish list draftboard.
It will really depend on the 49ers with their seventh pick. They also need a CB, so it's likely they will take Amukamara.
Amukamara possesses great cover skills and good footwork to go along with his good size and adequate speed. He doesn't have great top end speed, but he makes up for it with his ball-hawking instincts.
He was a lockdown corner in college and should turn into one in the NFL too.
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado (1st Round)
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Most boards have Nate Solder as the first OL coming off the boards. There are a lot of good OL that should go in the first Round, but there isn't a stud like Jake Long or D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Solder is projected to go off most boards in the early teens and may crack the top 10.
The Cowboys should really look hard at this kid because they desperately need to retool their OL.
Marc Colombo needs to be replaced at RT and Solder will be a great fit to fill that position.
Solder is one of the more athletic OTs in this draft. He is 6'9", 300 lbs. and runs a 40 under 5.0 seconds.
Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama (1st Round)
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With Marcus Spears not returning next season, the Cowboys need to make sure that their defensive line remains one of their strengths.
Marcell Dareus can provide a great pass rush from either the DT or DE positions. He should be a great fit for a 3-4 defense. He sure was for Nick Saban in Alabama's 3-4.
Dareus could step right into the starting lineup for the Cowboys. He, Jay Ratliff and Stephen Bowen would make a pretty good rotation at DE.
Justin Houston, DE/LB, Houston (1st Round)
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With a lot of needs to be filled, the Cowboys could get a lot of value from trading their No. 9 pick. By the time they select, most of the top prospects at each position will probably be gone.
Dallas may trade down and select one of the many good OTs or DEs late in the first round. There are plenty of these late-round prospects who will help out the Cowboys.
One of them would be Justin Houston. I think he would be another DE/LB combo guy that would fit great in Dallas' 3-4 scheme.
Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA (2nd Round)
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Someone needs to take over for first-year starter Alan Ball, and that man could be Rahim Moore.
Moore could be Dallas' second pick of the day at No. 40 overall. Moore is the top safety on all boards so he might not be around at 40.
Dallas could however trade down and get two more second round picks. If Dallas is able to get a higher second rounder, Moore could be gotten there.
Moore has incredible size and the instincts to be an elite FS in the NFL. He had 10 INTs in 2009.
Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois (2nd Round)
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At first glace, RB may not be a need for the Cowboys. I don't know if the Cowboys will take a RB with their second pick, but Mikel LeShoure would be a sure bet to replace Marion Barber.
Marion Barber has maybe one or two years left before he really starts wearing down. He has already had two straight injury-plagued seasons.
LeShoure will provide the same exact type of power that Barber provides and would be a good complement to Felix Jones.
Benjamin Ijalana, OT/OG, Villanova (2nd Round)
Besides OT, the Cowboys need an OG as well. Kyle Kosier is 32 and is not signed for next season.
Ben Ijalana would be another perfect fit for Dallas because of his ability to play both tackle and guard on the line.
Ijalana is a very big and athletic lineman who could fill in right away at RT or LG.
Aaron Williams, CB, Texas (2nd Round)
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If the Cowboys don't draft a player from the secondary in Round 1, they might in Round 2.
Jimmy Smith and Aaron Williams might be available for the Cowboys to take at No. 40.
Williams is the more realistic pick here. Smith might even be gone in the first round.
Williams is a great coverage man who can also tackle very well. His abilities to tackle the ball carrier and get to the QB has pushed him recently up draft boards.
Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson (3rd Round)
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In the third round, Dallas could add a little depth to their interior defensive line.
Drafting Jenkins would allow Jay Ratliff to move back to DE where he seems most comfortable and most effective.
Jenkins is a big DT who can stuff the middle and help a defense that was ranked towards the bottom of the league.
Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU (3rd Round)
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Unless the Cowboys keep Roy Williams, which I don't for see them doing, they are going to need to find a big red zone type of WR to take his place.
Dez Bryant and Miles Austin control the starting 1-2 punch, but a third WR will be needed to spread the ball around, especially in the red zone.
Toliver is a big WR at 6'4". Toliver didn't have the type of senior season that most expected. His yards were down from last year.
Toliver would have been a first rounder if he came out last year, so the Cowboys might be able to get a good value pick here if he's available in the third round.