DRAFT: 'Boys Check on Top Safety

Considering the Cowboys have selected a defensive player every year since 1997 with their first round pick, it stands to reason there will be a good chance it could happen again this year.

And leading the way, in terms of who could help the Cowboys the most, is Florida safety Reggie Nelson.

The Cowboys were one of many teams onhand for Florida's Pro Day last week and certainly they came away impressed.

After disappointing results at the combine, Nelson lit it up Wednesday, running almost two-tenths faster in his 40, clocking in the low 4.3-second range. He also looked spectacular in drills and will now battle to be the second safety chosen in April.

For the Cowboys, Nelson appears to be a perfect fit.

With decent size, excellent speed and terrific cover skills, the former Florida Gator would be ideal in complimenting the hard-hitting Roy Williams at strong safety.

Dallas has been burned in the downfield passing game in recent years due to Williams playing close to the line of scrimmage, not to mention poor coverage from the free safety position.

The Cowboys drafted Florida State's Patrick Watkins in the fifth round of last year's draft, but Watkins was largely inconsistent and may be best suited for a reserve role. In addition, one time starter Keith Davis is more in the mold of Williams as opposed to a free safety with coverage skills.

The Cowboys are also considering moving Anthony Henry from cornerback to free safety if no help is added either in the draft or free agency.

Aside from the Cowboys, New England and Jacksonville have also shown considerable interest in Nelson.

Nelson finished his junior season with the Gators by recording 51 total tackles, including two for loss, six interceptions and two blocked kicks.

Scout.com currently ranks Nelson as the No. 2 safety and the No. 19 overall player for the 2007 NFL Draft.

Reggie Nelson

Reggie Nelson Condensed Bio
HONORS: Honored with the 2006 Jack Tatum Award as the nation's top defensive back by the Touchdown Club of Columbus…Selected to the Walter Camp All-America Defense, as well as the Football Writers Association of America All-America Defense last season…Earned first-team All-America accolades from the Associated Press…Collected 2006 first-team All-SEC honors from both the league's coaches and the Associated Press.

2006: Member of the 2006 Leadership Committee…Started all 14 games in the Gators' defensive backfield…Intercepted three passes against top-25 opponents last season, which tied for the national lead…Ranked fifth in the SEC with six interceptions on the campaign…One of six Florida players to break or reach the 50-tackle barrier in '06…Selected as the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Defensive Player of the Half-Year, and also earned a spot on CBS Sportsline's Halfway All-America Team…Named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after an Alabama game in which he made five tackles, returned an interception 70 yards for a score, recovered a fumble at the end of a UF interception and broke up a pass.

2005: Participated in all 11 regular-season contests with four starts (Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida State) before injuring his knee during bowl practices…One of eight Gators to break the 40-tackle mark on the season, 32 of his 46 total tackles were solo efforts…Finished second on the team with four quarterback sacks, for a net loss of 32 yards.

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: The Palm Bay All-American had been enrolled at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College since 2003…Helped the Red Ravens to No. 3 ranking in the final 2004 National Junior College Athletic Association poll in his only year playing for Coffeyville…Nelson was named the NJCAA National Player of the Week for October 26 for his part in Coffeyville's 86-0 win over Independence (Kan.) in the first round of the Region 6 playoffs…Nelson led the squad in tackles with 72 (37 solo and 35 assisted), intercepted six passes for 175 return yards, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

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