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Saturday, April 28, 2012
Cowboys take another project defender

By Dan Graziano

The theme for the Dallas Cowboys in this draft is defense, and specifically -- other then their first-round trade-up for cornerback Morris Claiborne -- it appears to be about talented athletes who project as possible pass-rush help down the road. With the 18th pick in the fourth round (113th overall), the Cowboys selected Wake Forest outside linebacker Kyle Wilber.

Wilber was at his best in college as a pass-rusher, so clearly the Cowboys have their eye on developing him in that role. Anthony Spencer is playing on a one-year deal at the starting outside linebacker spot opposite superstar DeMarcus Ware, and if Spencer has another lackluster year rushing the passer and someone like Wilber can develop quickly, it's possible Wilber could be a replacement for Spencer down the road. He doesn't have great speed, but the scouting reports say he has good pass-rushing moves and instincts. We'll find out the degree to which he gets the opportunity to showcase those in training camp and during his rookie season. It could depend on how eager and willing he is to make an impact on special teams.

This is the third pick of this draft for the Cowboys, and all three have been defensive players. They took another long-armed upside athlete, Tyrone Crawford, in the third round and hope he can develop into a starting 3-4 defensive end. It seems that, after dealing up for the best defensive player in the draft in Claiborne, they're looking at a specific sort of guy they believe can help them on defense in the long-term.