Cowboys Interview Top DE

The Dallas Cowboys interviewed one of the top defensive line prospects available in the 2006 NFL Draft on Saturday. Read more about this player, including insider Combine tidbits, in another exclusive article from

Continuing a trend that started at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. four weeks ago, the Dallas Cowboys interviewed several major defensive targets Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. has learned one of the prospects receiving the most attention was Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali.

Hali, who measured in Saturday at 6-2, 275 pounds, is widely considered to be one of the top three defensive end prospects available in the 2006 NFL Draft.

In fact, Hali is currently rated as the No. 3 defensive end by

Interestingly enough, the Cowboys have held extensive interviews with three of's top five defensive ends, including N.C. State's Manny Lawson and FSU's Kamerion Wimbley along with Hali.

Aside from the Cowboys, Hali has also spoken with the Broncos, Chargers, Falcons, Bucs, Giants and Vikings.

Tamba Hali Notes
* Hali grew up in war-torn Liberia, escaped to the Ivory Coast and came to the United States about halfway through his life. His father is a professor at Farleigh-Dickinson and was able to get him, two brothers and one sister to the U.S., but since his father had remarried, Tamba's mother had to stay behind. The last time he saw her was in 1994, and he talks to her about twice a week. He hopes to get her to the U.S. after receiving his citizenship.

* His mother actually lives in a hut and "she doesn't have a clue what's going on (football-wise)," he said. "She'll go from living in a hut to a nice home (after he signs and gets her to the U.S.)."

* Fell in love with football with "just being able to go out there and hit people and not get fined for it.

Tamba Hali Scouting Report
Pos: Good athlete who makes a lot of plays in pursuit. Quick off the snap, fast up the field and immediately alters his angle of attack, displaying outstanding range. Possesses a burst of speed closing to the play. Has a warrior mentality and very intense. Solid in run defense.

Neg: Undersized and smothered by large blockers. Must develop more moves with his hands.

Analysis: A consistent and productive defensive player at Penn State the past two seasons, Hali has continued to improve during his senior campaign. Lacks top growth potential yet could be very productive in the proper NFL-system.

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