Dallas Cowboys: Projecting 2011 Draft Picks' Rookie Seasons and Beyond

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Dallas Cowboys: Projecting 2011 Draft Picks' Rookie Seasons and Beyond
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Former USC tackle Tyson Smith (right) headlines a promising draft for Dallas.

Dallas fans know the schtick: This our year.

At least that's how it always feels.

Hard to describe the NFL's second-most-winningest franchise as embattled, but it's been rough to be a Dallas fan the same way watching the Red Sox in October used to make you a better man. Tough to take it, the worlds of promise interrupted by an early playoff exit you can't explain away.

That was the story in 2007—really, 13-3 and you go out like that?—and even 2010, after another injury-plagued September and hopeless December.

There are more examples, but you get the point.

Here's where the promise of the NFL draft plays into the mix. Every selection brings the sweetest  football amnesia, wiping every tear-jerking loss and replacing it with images of Tyron Smith planting Trent Cole like a daisy.

Of DeMarco Murray dicing the Giants secondary like Italian spices. Of Bruce Carter joining Sean Lee for—gasp—a serviceable linebacker corps.

Makes you hope, doesn't it? Hope that new-hire Jason Garrett can parlay 5-3 into 13-3. Hope that Tony Romo's shoulder rebounds like Drew Brees' (not Chad Pennington's). Hope that the league's most stacked offense can finally gell and that one of its shakiest defenses can be competitive.

Or project, the function of this slideshow, one expert's speculation into the future of the 2011 Dallas Cowboys draft picks.

Who'll pan out? Who'll flame out?

Click onward and find out.

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