Ball … Player?

After pulling off a possible coup with the selection of Cal-Poly cornerback Courtney Brown, the Cowboys might have reached in an effort to pull off another late-round steal.

CB Alan Ball Profile

With the 237th pick of the draft, Dallas chose Illinois cornerback Alan Ball (6'1-1/2", 168, 4.45).

Three things jump out immediately about Ball:

• He's pencil-thin. No matter how talented he is, Ball is going to have to add strength and size, because there are very few players who can survive with his build.

• He's extremely fast. With his height and wheels, he has a chance to compete for a backup spot, because if nothing else, he can run with virtually any receiver in the league and has the length to knock away passes.

• Anyone who starts all four years at a Big 10 school – even conference doormat Illinois – has talent.

Ball is thin, but he is not afraid of contact, racking up 62 tackles in his senior season at Illinois after putting up 55 as a junior. He attacks the line of scrimmage aggressively in run support, but because of his thin build, he can get blown up by blockers, and sometimes has offensive players run through his tackles.

Ball will get a chance to compete, but he will have to really impress at training camp to make the roster, which has legitimate depth behind Terrance Newman, Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn, and was in more dire need of an upgrade at the safety spots to shore up the secondary's coverage ability.

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