There are several good prospects for the Dallas Cowboys to consider in the 2012 NFL draft and America’s Team has been linked to several different ones over the past few weeks, but the defensive line is by far the top area of interest for Dallas. In the Rant Sports 2012 NFL Mock Draft, the Cowboys select Michael Brockers, defensive lineman from LSU.
The best thing about Brockers is he can play defensive tackle or defensive end in Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s complex 3-4 scheme. That gives Dallas the option to start him at end right away or move Jay Ratliff to end and start Brockers in the middle.
Brockers came to LSU as a huge linebacker prospect before being converted to a defensive lineman. At 6’5″ and 322 lbs., Brockers has great size to play 3-4 defensive end in the NFL, where such players are required to be massive to keep pressure off the linebackers behind them.
The athleticism Brockers displayed at the NFL Combine is incredible for his size. Most defensive lineman who recorded fast times in the 40-yard dash and long distances in the broad jump are well under 300 lbs. Brockers ran a 5.35 in the 40, a 4.81 in the 20-yard shuttle and a 7.46 in the three-cone drill to go along with an 8’9″ broad jump and a 26.5″ vertical jump.
Brockers isn’t exceptionally fast, but he is remarkably quick for being so big. He shows off not only that, but also a high-running motor with quickness off the snap. That’s something Dallas desperately needs – players who give 100% effort on every play.
One would think Brockers would tend to play high since he’s so tall, but he actually possesses exceptional technique for a player his size. That comes from playing defensive tackle at LSU, which he’ll be able to do a little bit if needed in Dallas. Brockers’ height also allows him to track down ball carriers, which is why he’s also effective against the run.
All of these factors make Brockers a no-brainer pick at No. 14 for the Cowboys, a team in desperate need of a defensive end. With the upgrades at linebacker and in the secondary through free agency this off-season, Dallas might have a dynamite defense under Ryan this season with the addition of a player like Brockers in the 2012 NFL draft.