Draft Day Target: OL Justin Smiley

The the first day of the NFL Draft now in sight, we take a look at an offensive guard drawing heaving interest from the Dallas Cowboys in Alabama's Justin Smiley.

OG Justin Smiley
6-3.5, 298, 5.04
University of Alabama
Projected Draft Position: Late First/Early Second Round

With the 2004 NFL Draft quickly approaching, rumors around the league are circulating at a furious pace.

For the Cowboys, most of the information that is being passed around obviously concerns their first round pick. At this stage in the game, it seems like a virtual lock that Bill Parcells and company will either go one of two ways with their first pick: offensive line or running back.

One of the more prominent names now entering the picture is Alabama guard Justin Smiley.

Smiley elected to forgo his senior in Tuscaloosa to try his hand at the next level, and according to him, there hasn't been much looking back.

Smiley was a three year starter and first team All Conference selection as a junior. He was used at both left and right guard last season.
"I won't be second-guessing," Smiley said on the day he announced his decision. "My only regret are the friends and teammates I will be leaving behind. I love them so much. That's the hard part."

"But I've got a chance to be the first guard drafted this year from what a lot of teams say. I'm pretty pumped about that."

"He nice sized, and athletic guard that excels in pass protection," notes NFL Draft Expert Tony Pauline. "He works to stay low and keeps opponents in front of him. He immediately sets up in pass protection, anchors at the point, and attacks assignments."

For the Cowboys, Smiley could be too high with the 22nd pick in the first round.

Some scouts have suggested that he could go as high as #20, but more than likely Smiley is going to be a 2nd round selection.

Does that mean the Cowboys could find themselves in a position to trade down, select Smiley, and acquire additional picks? Absolutely.

Interest in Smiley has reportedly picked up in the last few weeks, especially with the whole Larry Allen situation. However at this point in the game, it appears much more likely that the organization will stay on course, and pursue a running back with their first pick.

"Smiley has shown steady improvement in his game," insists Pauline. "He a guy that can be a quality guard in the right system at the next level. He'll have to physically mature, improve his playing strength, and run blocking skills in order to do it."

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