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Saturday, May 10, 2014
Cowboys pick Ben Gardner in 7th round

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas – The pick: Ben Gardner, defensive end, Stanford in the seventh round.

My take: A versatile player who can mainly play the left defensive end spot. Gardner played several positions along the defensive line at Stanford. The Cowboys, who like to rotate their linemen, might use him at defensive tackle. The Cowboys like his height, 6-3 7/8, and were impressed with his Pro Day speed, 4.8 in the 40, which according to Scouts Inc., is the five-year combine average for a defensive end. The Cowboys have beefed up the depth along the defensive line this draft with a second-round pick in Demarcus Lawrence, Gardner and in free agency with three signings highlighted by Henry Melton, who will play the 3-technique spot. Gardner will be fighting for a roster spot and will have to make his mark on special teams, something that's vital for late-round picks.

Notable: One of the things coach Jason Garrett likes is team captains, and that's what Gardner was in 2013. ... The only issue is health. He suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle injury in 2013. Before that he was a durable player. He missed the combine because of the injury but was able to get healthy in time for his Pro Day.