'Boys find great value in Clemson DB

By most accounts, the Cowboys' biggest needs coming into the draft were safety and wide receiver. In the fifth round, with the 166th pick, Dallas finally addressed one of those needs with the selection of Clemson safety Michael Hamlin (6-2, 214, 4.58).

Hamlin is not related to Dallas free safety Ken Hamlin, and will not play beside him — he's a free safety who will back up the man who shares his surname, at least at first. His lanky, long-armed frame should allow him to add more muscle, and if he does, he could slide over to strong safety to create an all-Hamlin back line.

Although not a bruising hitter, Hamlin is very effective against the run, and collected a staggering 326 tackles in his career as a four-year starter for the Tigers, including 110 as a senior. He also is adept in pass coverage — he reads passes well and reacts quickly when the ball is in the air.

Like "the other" Hamlin, Michael Hamlin is a smart player with the proverbial "high football IQ" who has the ability to bait quarterbacks into making throws that he can then jump in front of, either to knock them down or pick them off (he had 14 interceptions at Clemson for 243 return yards).

Hamlin's draft stock slipped a little when he strained a hamstring at Clemson's Pro Day, but he is the most productive college player the Cowboys have drafted so far.

Hamlin also arrives in Dallas with the all-important intangibles, having twice earned All-ACC honors (second team in 2007 and first team in 2008) and serving as a Clemson team captain. He also boasts good football bloodlines; brothers Markee and Marquais are collegiate players at South Carolina State.

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