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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Rob Ryan Focused on Defensive Backs for Dallas Cowboys in 2012 NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows his team needs to improve its defensive backs and he’s determined to do something about it. While at the Senior Bowl, Ryan made it clear the secondary is on his mind.

“I’m only looking at DBs,” Ryan said. “Nothing else. DBs.”

The secondary isn’t the Cowboys’ only problem on defense, but it’s by far the most critical. The Cowboys ranked 23rd in the NFL this season, giving up 244 passing yards per game. Even though that ranking is up three spots from 2010, the Cowboys’ pass defense was statistically worse this year.

Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones always promises big things in the offseason following these disappointing seasons, but never comes through on them. Ryan has taken it upon himself to make sure the Cowboys at least draft some help at cornerback and safety, even if Jones doesn’t bring in veteran help via free agency.

Ryan is specifically interested in Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson, who is projected to be taken on the second day of the draft, in either the second or third round. Of course, Jones makes the final call on who the Cowboys draft, so Ryan can only plead his case and hope Jones selects Johnson after taking a high-profile pass rusher in the first round.

The Cowboys have no hopes of drafting a cornerback in the first round after Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested for possession of marijuana. LSU’s Morris Claiborne is the only other defensive back who will be taken in the first half of the first round of the draft and he’ll be gone way before the Cowboys are on the board with the No. 14 overall pick.

That means Johnson is the man on day two of the draft if Jones listens to Ryan about his team’s needs. No guarantees there, but Cowboys fans should keep their fingers crossed nonetheless.

Follow Jeric Griffin on Twitter @JericGriffin