Spencer … For Higher

In the Dallas defense, he likely will be dropped back to outside linebacker.

DE Anthony Spencer Profile

Just moments after Dallas fans had accepted the idea that their team had traded out of the first round, the Cowboys reversed field and traded three draft picks – to NFC East foe Philadelphia, no less – for Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer (6'2-7/8", 261, 4.73).

Spencer was very productive in his senior season at Purdue after being overshadowed early in his career with the Boilermakers. In the Dallas defense, he likely will be dropped back to outside linebacker. Nobody is going to unseat DeMarcus Ware, of course, but with Greg Ellis blowing out his Achilles tendon last year, the pass rush from the other side was suspect, at best. Ideally, Ellis returns at 100 percent and serves as Spencer's mentor.

In the Dallas defense, Spencer doesn't have the size to stay up front at defensive end, where Marcus Spears and Chris Canty rely on their bulk and brawn as well as their technique. But to think that Spencer is a mirror image of Ware is inaccurate. Whereas Ware is the epitome of a smooth, fluid glider, Spencer moves with short, choppy steps and relies more on his hand-to-hand combat to free himself from would-be blockers.

What makes the trade unusual is the fact that the Cowboys traded within their own division, something most teams are loathe to do.

Dallas swapped the 36th, 87th and 159th picks to the Eagles for the selection with which they took Spencer. The trade was made possible in part because the Cowboys entered the draft with 10 picks and added another from the Browns in the trade that netted Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn. On the other hand, the Eagles entered the weekend with only six picks, so their desire to accumulate extra selections made the notion of doing business with the Cowboys more tolerable – at least a little.

The Cowboys clearly see something special in Spencer, because the outside linebacker spot – especially if Ellis continues to earn strong reviews on his rehab – is not the team's biggest need. But the flexibility that the extra picks afforded the Cowboys made Spencer too appealing to pass up.

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