Finding That Second Round Starter

Last year, CowboyUpdate hit one of the second round selections correctly with Pittsburgh wide reciever Antonio Bryant. This year, things appear to be a little more wide open as the team could go in one of several directions. We take a look at the most likely possibilities in this report.

Ah yes, the NFL Draft is quickly approaching and rumors are flying around internet message boards like no other time of the year.

With needs on the offensive line, the defensive line, and in the secondary, fans from both near and far have their opinion on which player should be drafted once the Cowboys go on the clock.

As documented here on CowboyUpdate for quite sometime, sources seem to agree that Kansas State cornerback Terence Newman, Utah offensive lineman Jordan Gross, and even Arizona State's Terrell Suggs seem to be front runners for the Cowboys' first round selection.

Some rumors are even starting to float around about Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, but all we've heard so far in that department is merely unconfirmed speculation.

We'll stick with our guns that the Cowboys will take one of the three players already mentioned in the first round, with the sleeper being Gross.

The second round pick however, is where things could get a bit interesting.

Last year, Jerry Jones was masterful in trading down two selections in the first round, and still being able to get his man in Roy Williams, while also adding a late second round pick in Antonio Bryant.

"If you look at our history, we have always been very active in trying to get more value on draft day by trading down. But we also learned the value being at the top of the draft last year with Roy Williams. We learned if you are drafting from a good position, you can do some damage," said Jones.

This year, we should expect more of the same, with the Cowboys likely expecting to have two second round picks after trading down in the first round.

And with the focus in the first round coming at the non-skill positions, we are projecting at least one of the Cowboys' second round selections to be at running back.

Early names we are hearing that are getting a second look in the "war room" at Valley Ranch include Musa Smith, Willis McGahee, and even Penn State running back Larry Johnson, should he be available.

Bill Parcells wants a power running back that gets better as the game goes on, and more importantly he wants competition in the backfield with Troy Hambrick.

Each of these backs will have the ability to get the job done and then some at the next level.

Just like Jordan Gross in the first round, Musa Smith may be the darkhorse here, simply because he isn't coming off of a terrifying knee injury like McGahee, and he is also considered to be one of the most talented running backs available this year.

"As we've talked about before, Parcells likes guys that get better as the game goes on, guys like Curtis Martin and Otis Anderson. Musa Smith certainly fits the bill in that department," a source told just recently.

"They were able to get two quality players last year in Andre Gurode and Antonio Bryant, if they were able to duplicate that one more time, I'd say they would have improved their overall talent tremdously in the last two years...and that's just from the second round," added the source.

With the Cowboys seemingly able to put together an incredible gameplan for the 2002 NFL draft, let's just hope Jerry has his ducks in a row once again this year.

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