Cowboys will add help on the O-line

The Dallas offensive line endured considerable scrutiny in 2010, sometimes because of on-field performance, and sometimes with an eye toward the future as four of the five starters are at least 31 years old and showed signs of wear and tear.

It's no secret that the Cowboys need to bolster their offensive line with an infusion of young talent, and there is widespread speculation that the Cowboys will take at least one guard in April's NFL Draft. Starters Kyle Kosier and Leonard Davis both are 32 years old, and backup Montrae Holland will be 31 in May. The team likes the potential of backups Phil Costa and Travis Bright, especially since each is versatile enough to play guard or center, but the team needs to identify a replacement for either Kosier or Davis. Whether it's next year that one or both are replaced is unknown, but each is on the downside of his career.

So who should the Cowboys target?

Florida's Mike Pouncey: It is widely believed that none of the guards in this year's draft is worth the Cowboys' current No. 9 spot, but would be a good value pick in the second round or beyond. Like his twin brother, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, Mike has excellent size and strength for any of the three interior line positions. The three-year starter and Florida team captain is extremely athletic for an interior lineman, with good quickness and balance, which help him excel when pulling. He can still get stronger, but Pouncey is solid in run blocking and in pass protection, and while he doesn't often overwhelm his man, once he locks on to a block, he has the ability to eliminate his defender from the play.

TCU's Marcus Cannon: Maybe the most impressive physical specimen in the draft at the guard position, the 6-6, 350-pound Cannon is a dual-sport athlete (he also throws on the TCU track team) who likely will change positions in the NFL, moving from right tackle to guard. Cannon is very strong and has long arms, and moves well. Given his background at tackle, Cannon already is an able pass blocker, and he has the size and strength to be a dominant run blocker. A third-team All-America honoree as a senior and three-time all-conference selection, the only thing keeping Cannon from being a sure first-round selection is the fact that he doesn't have elite explosiveness. But he can overwhelm defenders with his raw size and power, and has enough mobility to get to the second level of a defense and flatten a linebacker. His measurables very well could get Cannon pushed into the first round of the draft, even with the prospective position change.

Ohio State's Justin Boren: Any questions about Boren's toughness can be addressed by the fact that he transferred to Ohio State … from Michigan. The 6-3, 320-pound Boren has exceptional strength and plays with an aggressive, brawling style. He has a powerful punch and plays with a mean streak, often finishing blocks several yards downfield. The All-Big Ten and second-team (Associated Press) All-America honoree has good quickness, footwork and balance. Like Costa and Bright, Boren has played guard and center, and his draft stock should be helped by his versatility.

Connecticut's Zach Hurd: Another impressive athlete is UConn's Zach Hurd, a two-time All-Big East honoree for the Huskies who measures in a 6-7 and 325 pounds, and regularly has clocked in the 5.1-5.2 range in the 40, making him among the quickest guards in the country. Hurd is a durable who has started 39 consecutive games over the last three years at UConn, but sometimes gets his bad level a little higher than he should. Hurd is a solid run blocker who could develop into a steal as a mid-round pick.

Notre Dame's Chris Stewart: Stewart is a burly (6-5, 350) blocker who is an excellent student of the game (a lot like Kyle Kosier) and a top student in the classroom, graduating with honors from Notre Dame in just three and a half years and starting law school in his final season in South Bend. Stewart has started at both guard positions for the Fighting Irish, and has reshaped his body over the couple of years; he was only about 10 pounds heavier at his biggest, but he has significantly lowered his body fat while dropping a few pounds. He still can play a little stiff at times, but he has good overall athleticism. That, coupled with his size, intelligence and work ethic could make him an ideal selection in the later rounds.

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