Merriman On His Way to The Ranch

One of the Cowboys' No. 1 targets for the 2005 NFL Draft is on his way to Valley Ranch. He'll also make one other very important stop this week. <BR>

Maryland OLB/DE Shawne Merriman, along with 19 other potential draft day targets, is on his way to Valley Ranch to visit with the Dallas Cowboys.

Overall, the Cowboys' organization is expecting 20 total players to visit between April 13 and 14, and leading the way is none other than the versatile Merriman.

While the players will not be put through any kind of workout, they will be given a complete tour of the facilities and also meet with the Cowboys' coaching staff.

Dallas needs to acquire a pass rusher in the first day of the draft, and Merriman represents one of the few targets this year that offers first round ability to do just that.

As a senior at Maryland, Merriman was an All-ACC defensive lineman, recording 8 1/2 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and 85 total tackles. He finished his career with 23 quarterback sacks, one off the team record set by Mike Corvino.

"Having the opportunity to play at the professional level is a dream and one which I have worked extremely hard towards," Merriman told in a recent interview.

"I have been fortunate to be surrounded by great family, coaches and teammates (at Maryland). They have all played a part in me getting to this point.

"Once scouts see me in action, I'm confident a team will be selecting me to help them win," Merriman said. "I've interviewed and have spoken with almost every NFL team, in some cases a few times, which has been an exciting learning experience."

While many scouts are expecting the Cowboys to give Merriman a hard look with their first overall selection, other teams are also in hot pursuit.

For starters, Merriman will also visit with the Detroit Lions this week. In addition, several rumors involving the Cleveland Browns trading down from the No. 3 overall selection to get Merriman has been constant since early March.

Scouting Report
Shawne Merriman (Maryland)
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 272 40: 4.65 Year: 3Jr

Bio: All-Conference selection as a junior after posting 85/17/8.5. Battled injuries much of his sophomore campaign and finished with 55/9.5/ 8.5.

Positives: Athletic defender who displays great suddenness to his game. Explosive up the field, redirects to ball carriers and fast moving laterally. Pursues to the flanks with speed, displays outstanding range and the ability to defeat blocks. Breaks down well, tough to knock off his feet and strong at the point of attack. Possesses a closing burst of speed and flashes on the scene. Disciplined in pass coverage, effective in space and fast off the edge when lined up in a threepoint stance.

Negatives: Must develop more moves with his hands to get off blocks rather than just relying on brute force. Much better making plays up the field than in reverse.

Analysis: A difference maker and disruptive force, Merriman is an outstanding athlete with top measurables for the next level. Best suited to play over tight end in a 34 defense and has the potential to develop into an impact defender at the next level.

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