Dallas Cowboys Draft Review

by Tommy Lawlor – ScoutsNotebook.com

DALLAS COWBOYS

1 – WR Dez Bryant – Oklahoma State
2 – ILB Sean Lee – Penn State
4 – DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah – Indiana (PA)
6 – OT Sam Young – Notre Dame
6 – CB Jamar Wall – Texas Tech
7 – DL Sean Lissemore – William & Mary

Dallas made one of the most interesting picks in the whole draft when they took Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant with the 24th pick. No one questions Bryant’s talent. He is an incredibly gifted player. He slid out of the Top 10 and down the line due to some character questions. Bryant was suspended by the NCAA for most of the year after he lied to them about spending some time with Deion Sanders at his house. There are questions about how fair the suspension was. Bryant proclaimed his innocence throughout the process, but there was something odd about the situation. Bryant isn’t violent, doesn’t have any history of drug issues, and hasn’t been in trouble with the law. One of his biggest issues is punctuality. That can be a big thing in the NFL (see Tom Coughlin). Still, you have to believe NFL teams had legitimate concerns about some other issue that caused Bryant to slide down into the 20s.

Dallas felt like Bryant was just too good to pass up. He was good value in the 20s. The Cowboys have a strange group of receivers. Roy Williams has only had one really good year in the NFL. Miles Austin was great in 2009, but we need to see him do that again before we can consider him a top flight WR for sure. Patrick Crayton is a good slot receiver, but isn’t happy with a diminished role. Sam Hurd is quietly a good backup player. Kevin Ogletree is a young player to keep your eye on. He only caught 7 passes in ’09, but showed some potential.

If Bryant pans out, he and Austin could combine to give Dallas a great pair of big receivers. Bryant has big hands. He plays the ball in the air as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. He does have to show that he can handle physical CBs in the NFL. There were times when physical DBs seemed to bother him at OSU. Bryant has RS ability as well and could fit in there as a rookie.    

In the 2nd round Dallas took one of my favorite players in the draft, LB Sean Lee of Penn State. Dallas will use him as an ILB. I think that is a great spot for Sean. He played both OLB and MLB at Penn State. He is absolutely physical enough for the inside. I thought he shed blocks better than any LB in the draft. Sean doesn’t wait for guys to come to him. He sees an O-lineman and attacks. Sean’s attitude is to get that big ol’ boy going in the other direction and then go find the ball so he can punish some skill player. What makes Sean special is that he is a pretty good pass defender. He has good instincts and his pretty agile in space. The only reason he wasn’t picked higher is his knee. Sean missed the 2008 season due to a torn ACL. He then missed 3 games in ’09 with a slight knee problem. Sean is a natural leader, hard worker, and really smart player. He could turn out to be an outstanding player if his knee problems remain in the past. Great pick.

Dallas went for a small school player in the 4th round. They took Akwasi Owusu-Ansah of Indiana (PA). He played CB in college, but will slide inside to Safety for the Cowboys. There is a lot to like about this young man. He has good size at 6’0, 207. He dominated his level of competition. Then he went to the Combine and had an excellent workout. He has very good athletic ability. The key question is how he’ll handle the step up in competition. AOA didn’t play in an all star game. He had a shoulder issue. He’s never faced a true NFL-level player. AOA has the physical ability to play in the NFL, but you never know how a guy will deal with the fact that everyone else on the field is as big/fast as he is…if not more. I think he has the right mind set based on what I’ve heard and read from him. He was good value at this point in the draft. This is another good pick.

The Cowboys had a pair of 6th round picks. They first went for OT Sam Young from Notre Dame. He played RT for the Irish and projects there for the Cowboys. Sam was a terrific Freshman, but never developed from that first season. Some might argue that he actually regressed. He can be a good run blocker. Sam has excellent size (6’8, 316). He has good strength. The issue that Sam has to overcome is his pass blocking. He needs to be more technically proficient, but also has some athletic limitations. He doesn’t have great feet. Sam was good value at this point. Dallas is hoping he can be a good backup. If he develops into starting material, all the better.

Texas Tech CB Jamar Wall was the other 6th round pick. He’s got some size at 5’10, 204. He has good ball skills. Jamar broke up 15 passes as a Senior and picked off 9 in his career. The problem is that Jamar lacks ideal quickness and burst. Late in the draft I think you want to go after CBs that are either size/speed guys or who have good ball skills. Going for Wall makes sense. I think he’s got an uphill battle to make the roster. He’ll need to play really well on STs to help his cause.

The final pick landed DL Sean Lissemore from William & Mary. He played DT in college, but should play DE in the Cowboys 3-4 scheme. Lissemore (6’4, 298) has some athletic ability and was at his best attacking upfield. That should help him to fit in at DE in Dallas defense. They don’t play a 2-gap 3-4. They like their players to get upfield. Lissemore had 28 TFLs in college and then played well at the Texas vs The Nation game. He could develop into a solid backup DL.

Cowboys draft tracker at NFL.com

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