2013 NFL Draft: Top Five First-Round Options for Dallas Cowboys

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Five First-Round Options for the Dallas Cowboys

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Despite their late-season comeback and current 7-6 record, the Dallas Cowboys have suffered from numerous deficiencies throughout the 2012 campaign.

One of the biggest setbacks this season for the Cowboys has been a lack of pass blocking, which has left quarterback Tony Romo out in the cold and forced him to cut plays short in order to avoid sacks. Despite his best efforts to stay upright, the Dallas offensive line has still given up 31 sacks on the season, tied for tenth-most in the league. Although Romo is great at avoiding pressure, it’s going to be big for the Cowboys' future success for them to address their pass blocking via the draft.

Another big question mark heading into the offseason will be the lack of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Although DeMarcus Ware is still doing his thing, the rest of the Dallas front seven is having a tough time either staying on the field or providing a consistent impact. Some players, such as Jay Ratliff, haven’t been able to stay healthy while others have underwhelmed as parts of the Cowboys’ defensive attack.

Then again, there’s always the possibility that the Cowboys could just go with the BPA (Best Player Available) and take something like a wide receiver or cornerback. Either way, the Cowboys will certainly have the opportunity to add tools as they attempt to avoid wasting their roster’s talent in 2013 the way they have in seasons passed.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five of the prospects that could hear their names called when the Cowboys are on the clock come draft day.

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5. John Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

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With Ratliff constantly on the injured list and Josh Brent likely to be behind bars in the near future, the Cowboys will need to add some talent to the nose tackle position by the time the 2013 NFL season rolls around. The 6’3’’, 358-pound Jenkins provides a massive force in the middle who plays with a relentless motor and is among the best at plugging up running lanes. On top of that, he’s a strong pass rusher for his size. If the Cowboys’ defense wants to reassert itself as a force to be reckoned with, Jenkins would go a long way in helping that cause.

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4. Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia

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Although many will say that the Cowboys shouldn’t address the wide receiver position in the first round, you have to think that they might take a shot if the right player falls into their laps. That right player could just be Austin, a dynamic pass-catcher with the type of game-breaking abilities that would complement Dez Bryant. On top of his abilities as a receiver, he also brings versatility as a return specialist, something that the Cowboys could greatly benefit from. He’s the closest thing to Percy Harvin that the 2013 class has to offer; why wouldn’t Dallas want their own version of Harvin?

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3. Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina

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Plain and simple, the Cowboys need help along the offensive line if Romo is ever going to get Dallas back to the Super Bowl. What better way to provide the skittish quarterback with some extra insurance than by adding a guard like Cooper to the offensive front. With how injury-riddled the Dallas front five has been in recent history, the Cowboys need all of the help they can get. Cooper brings terrific size, athleticism and footwork to the offensive line while providing a perfect fit for the Dallas blocking scheme. He’ll likely be available when they’re on the clock, and he’d be a terrific addition.

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2. Sam Montgomery, Outside Linebacker, LSU

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Imagine a defense that featured Ware on one side and Montgomery on the other. Throughout his college career, Montgomery has displayed elite athleticism and the outstanding ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He has tremendous size with the frame to add more bulk, and can be a disruptive force against the run with time. Although he is a bit raw, Montgomery has all of the physical tools to overwhelm opponents at the next level with some NFL-caliber coaching. If the Cowboys want to add an immediate impact player to their defense, they need to bid farewell to Anthony Spencer and give the LSU product a go.

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1. Barrett Jones, Center, Alabama

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If the Cowboys really are serious about building a solid offensive line in front of Romo, the foundation of that line should be a player like Jones. With so many question marks across the line, Jones would immediately offer so much with his amazing versatility. He has the size, speed and footwork to play all five positions along an offensive front. Not only is he a rock-solid run blocker, but his technique and quickness also make him a reliable pass blocker. Jones is a team-first player who would bring tremendous character to an unsteady locker room. It wouldn’t be a glamorous pick, but Jones would bring more to this team than anyone can reasonably expect from one player.

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