Draft Day Target: OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson

The Cowboys gambled on Virginia DE Chris Canty last year and won. This year, Virginia offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson seems like much less of a risk, and a primetime target of the Dallas Cowboys.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson (6-4.5, 290, 5.31) will leave the University of Virginia with just about every honor imaginable for an offensive lineman.

Named as an All-ACC first team performer in each of the last three seasons, Ferguson is widely regarded as the top offensive lineman available in the 2006 NFL Draft.

And in a year in which the Cowboys saw their offensive line falter more than any season in recent memory, Ferguson headlines an early wish list as a potential first round draft choice.

"Ferguson is an athletic blocker who stands out in pass protection," notes one NFL scout. "He's fluid moving about the field, plays with a forward lean and easily anchors at the point of attack.

"He's also quick out to the second level and redirects to linebackers, removing them from the action. Explosive and good initial strength at the point run blocking."

Of course, the offensive line figures to be the one area of the Cowboys that will draw immediate attention this offseason - both in free agency and the draft.

Ferguson started all 48 games in which he played at UVA, the most by an offensive lineman in school history.
Remember, starting tackle Flozell Adams went down with an ACL tear before the midway point of the 2005 season, and rookie Rob Petitti played exactly like that - a rookie. Even with Adams' rehab slightly ahead of schedule, one of the first orders of business this offseason for the Cowboys will be look for additional help on the offensive line.

And by all accounts, if the Cowboys choose to address this need in the draft, D'Brickashaw Ferguson would be the guy at the top of their 2006 board.

"Ferguson is a terrific athlete that can develop into a dominant left tackle at the next level," adds the scout. "He needs to improve his run blocking strength and finer details of the position but worth an early selection in April."

In addition, Ferguson also played for Bill Parcells' good friend - Virginia head coach Al Groh.

It was Groh who told Parcells of defensive end Chris Canty, one of the biggest sleepers in the 2005 draft, who was eventually selected in the fourth round by the Cowboys. Certainly, Ferguson isn't the sleeper that Canty was, but if Bill Parcells wants any insider information on this massive offensive lineman, he knows exactly where to go - Charlottesville, Va. and UVA head coach Al Groh.

Finally, Ferguson will be one of 28 offensive tackle prospects on display at the 2006 NFL Combine in Indianapolis next month. For a full list of all offensive tackle prospects that will be in attendance, click here.

Editor's Note: TheRanchReport.com has already shifted into 'offseason mode,' meaning our subscribers will start to see a noticable increase in coverage of prospects entering the 2006 NFL Draft and also free agency. Make sure you check back with TheRanchReport.com several times a day between now and May to get breaking updates from the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine, free agency, and the NFL draft!

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