Cowboys show interest in OL has the latest on this hidden gem who is garnering early interest from the Cowboys.

A lot of time and energy is spent at this time of year trying to guess which players will be chosen at the beginning of the NFL Draft.

But many scouts and personnel directors will tell you they really earn their money based on the players they discover who contribute after getting selected in the later rounds, or even signed as an undrafted free agent.

With that in mind, the Dallas Cowboys, like every NFL team, have been scouring all-star games and college rosters for late-round gems. As it turns out, the Cowboys might have discovered a late-round or free agent target close to home. Like every team in the league, the Cowboys have sent scouts through Fort Worth to check on some TCU players, but has learned that the Cowboys have taken an interest in one of the Horned Frogs' lesser-known players.

Thanks to their run to the Rose Bowl, several formerly anonymous Horned Frogs now have some measure of name recognition outside Fort Worth. Quarterback Andy Dalton, defensive end Wayne Daniels, wide receiver/return specialist Jeremy Kerley … each has had his name listed on a litany of websites and published lists of draft candidates.

With an offensive line that includes sure NFL draft picks like tackle Marcus Cannon and center Jake Kirkpatrick, it would be easy to overlook the other starters, but Dallas scouts have started studying right guard Josh Vernon.

The 6-2, 300-pound Vernon started the last two years at TCU and was a key part of a 2010 offense that averaged 41.6 points per game and 476.8 yards of total offense per game (247.4 rushing and 229.5 through the air).

The knock on Vernon is that he is not quite as big as many teams (including the Cowboys) normally like their guards to be, and doesn't have ideal arm length, but the same could be said about Phil Costa, who made the Dallas roster as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland last summer. Like Costa, Vernon is a versatile player who has experience playing both guard positions and at center.

In terms of playing style, Vernon is more like Leonard Davis than Kyle Kosier, in that he is a brawling-style blocker who relies on sheer power to move defenders. He also can block for place kicks on special teams.

If he ends up playing for the Cowboys, either by getting drafted or by getting signed as a free agent, Vernon won't have to go far from home, as he played his high school football at Irving's MacArthur High School. He would be the fourth player form Irving in team history, joining former running back Tyson Thompson, former linebacker Akin Ayodele and former defensive tackle Remi Ayodele.

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