Top of the Cowboys Draft Board?

Just days away from the 2007 NFL Draft, TheRanchReport.com takes you inside the war room, presenting you with another prospect the Cowboys have met extensively with in the previous weeks.

As the 2007 NFL Draft approaches, there's a common misconception that teams around the league are scrambling to finalize their draft board.

In reality, nothing can be further from the truth- especially when it comes to a first round selection.

In fact, after years of scouting prospects throughout the college ranks, the Dallas Cowboys' scouting department has nearly all of its work complete, at least in regards to his year's draft.

"Our job is to cut down the margin of error," VP of College and Pro Scouting Jeff Ireland said. "My guys know we're accountable at every turn, and it's our sole responsibility to support two people, the Head Coach and the General Manager/Owner. All our efforts are designed and directed at providing support to these two entities. The organization demands our best efforts."

Indeed, the scouting departments' efforts are about to unfold right before our very eyes on Saturday.

So what will the Cowboys be thinking once they are on the clock with the No. 22 overall pick in this weekend's draft?


Brandon Meriweather Bio
Bio: All-Conference selection as a senior after totaling 58/1/8. Led the team in tackles as a junior, finishing the year with 115/3/7.

Pos: Athletic secondary prospect who shows potential at safety and cornerback. Efficient, immediately diagnoses the action and takes good angles to the play. Fast to the sidelines, displays excellent range and possesses a sense of timing. Very aware in coverage and has a burst of closing speed.

Neg: Bites on play-action passes, makes his first move up the field and will be caught out of position. Lacks strength at the point of attack.
Not surprisingly, the team is rumored to be focused on two key areas- wide receiver and the secondary.

As documented by TheRanchReport.com throughout the last several weeks, the Cowboys have interviewed many of the top wide outs, cornerbacks and safeties available in this year's draft. From USC's Dwayne Jarrett to South Carolina's Sidney Rice, the Cowboys have spoken with three of the top six wide receivers.

Even more interesting is the fact that Dallas has also held extensive interview sessions with nearly twice as many defensive backs, including CB Tarell Brown (Texas), CB Darrelle Revis (Pitt), CB Usama Young (Kent), CB Aaron Ross (Texas), S Brandon Merriweather (Miami) and S Reggie Nelson (Florida).

Here's where things start to get interesting.

The Cowboys, who signed free safety Ken Hamlin this offseason to compliment Roy Williams in the secondary, (which was obviously one of the team's biggest needs) are not set on selecting an offensive player with their first pick, as some might think.

Yes, it has been 10 years since the Cowboys last picked an offensive player with their first round pick, and yes the wide receivers could stand to get younger with aging stars Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens leading the way. But, from what TheRanchReport.com is hearing, the Cowboys will still look very closely at the available defensive backs with their No. 22 pick- specifically Miami's Brandon Meriweather.

The Cowboys have coveted Florida standout Reggie Nelson, and would even considered drafting him with the No. 22 pick should he be available, but most insiders are suggesting Nelson will be long gone by the time the Cowboys go on the clock.

That leaves Meriweather likely there for the taking, which isn't a bad thing because the Cowboys his versatility and true cover skills.

Keep in mind at the NFL level, Merriweather could play safety or cornerback. Regardless of where he ends up, at either position he offers the Dallas defense outstanding cover skills- which is something needed in a secondary that is known more for big hits than anything else.

So while the official draft board of the Dallas Cowboys will never be released before the draft, and rightfully so, everything we are hearing here at TheRanchReport.com, suggests that the Cowboys are looking the closest at Dwayne Jarrett, Brandon Merriweather and several of the top cornerbacks, should they still be available.

And what about trades?

In a draft deep with corners and receivers, it's very important to keep in mind the Cowboys will indeed have legitimate trade options this year.

In years past, it's been almost laughable the trade rumors being thrown around, as most were just smoke and mirrors, but this year that could change. This could be the year owner Jerry Jones pulls the trigger on a deal, simply becuase he has so many options.

Also remember that trades, for the most part, are nearly impossible to predict before the draft. Many trades simple aren't brought up until a team actually goes on the clock and starts listening to offers.

So while we can talk about the possibility of moving up or down to acquire a specific player or additional picks, no one truly knows what to expect until draft arrives.

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