IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys continued their defensive trend in the 2012 NFL draft by selecting safety Matt Johnson with the 135th overall pick, the final selection of the fourth round.
Johnson was also a four-year starter at Eastern Washington with 17 career interceptions. Leading up to the draft the Cowboys were locked in on Alabama’s Mark Barron in the first round, but Johnson was always considered a mid-to-late-round possibility because he fills a need.
His senior season was cut short because of a biceps injury. He ended his career as the school’s second all-time leading interceptor. He had 52 tackles -- eight for a loss -- two picks, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks before the injury.
The Cowboys signed Gerald Sensabaugh to an extension last season and signed veteran Brodney Pool to a one-year deal in free agency. They also have special teams standout Danny McCray, Barry Church -- who is coming off shoulder surgery -- and Mana Silva on the roster.
It’s the first time since 1982 that the Cowboys’ first four picks were on the defensive side. Cornerback Rod Hill, linebacker Jeff Rohrer, linebacker Jim Eliopulos and cornerback Brian Carpenter were selected in Rounds 1-4 that year.
The Cowboys got this pick for losing defensive end Stephen Bowen to Washington in free agency.