Lone Star State Stars in Dallas?

In the interest of helping the Cowboys' scouting department a little time, TheRanchReport.com has put together an all-Texas draft list, based on players who would fit the team's needs, and the round in which each player deserves to be taken.

Dallas owner Jerry Jones loves to make a splash in any number of ways. He likes to win, he likes to have his team playing in a stadium that likely can be seen from outer space, he likes to have marquee superstars on his roster and he likes to market — a lot — to sell his team to the public.

He also loves to acquire players with whom his fans already have some familiarity. Translation: given the choice between players he deems of equal talent and value, he often will choose the player who hails from a university within the state of Texas.

Consider: just in the last couple of years, Dallas has drafted four players — quarterback Stephen McGee (Texas A&M), linebacker Brandon Williams (Texas Tech), linebacker Stephen Hodge (TCU) and tight end Martellus Bennett (Texas A&M) — from Texas schools.


Dallas has numerous more pressing needs, but Kindle is the best Texas-schooled player in the draft.

So, in the interest of helping the Cowboys' scouting department a little time, TheRanchReport.com has put together an all-Texas draft list, based on players who would fit the team's needs, and the round in which each player deserves to be taken. (Considering trades that could be made before or during the draft, players are assigned simply to rounds, not specific picks.)

First round
Linebacker Sergio Kindle (Texas): With DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer on the team, Dallas certainly has bigger needs. But Kindle is an extremely athletic pass rusher with a rare blend of strength and speed. Dallas has numerous more pressing needs, but Kindle is the best Texas-schooled player in the draft.

Safety Earl Thomas (Texas): This is actually a realistic pick for the Cowboys at the end of the first round. Thomas is a slightly undersized (5-10, 197) safety with good speed (4.45) who has a knack for being around the ball; he made 72 and 77 tackles in his junior and senior seasons, respectively, and intercepted 10 passes over the last two seasons, including eight as a senior.



Second round


Former TCU end Jerry Hughes will make the transition to outside linebacker in the NFL.

Linebacker Jerry Hughes (TCU): First-team All-America defensive end needs to move to outside linebacker because of his size, or lack thereof (6-3, 257). But he is extraordinarily athletic and a relentless pass rusher. There was talk that if Hughes had come out last year, he could have been a top-10 pick, and that staying for his final season in Fort Worth actually hurt his stock. Regardless, someone is going to get an outstanding pass rusher.

Linebacker Daryl Washington (TCU): Constantly overshadowed by Hughes, Washington might have been the most consistent player on the TCU defense. At 6-3, 234, 4.6, Washington has the size and speed to play inside or outside, and in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. Washington is one of those non-stop motor guys who makes plays sideline to sideline, is outstanding in coverage and is a violent hitter who should be a monster on special teams, too … could slip into the first round.



Third round
Defensive tackle Lamarr Houston (Texas): In an era in which teams running a 3-4 defense seem to prefer the human mountain-style noseguards (see New England's Will Wilfork), Houston actually bears a striking resemblance to Dallas's Jay Ratliff — not the Ratliff who was an afterthought defensive end at the time he was drafted, but the current version … the cat-quick interior lineman who can shoot gaps to pressure the quarterback and tackle running backs in the backfield. In a defense that calls for interior linemen to tie up multiple blockers, he won't be that effective, but in a system that allows its inside linemen to generate pressure, he could be a steal.



Fourth round


Colt McCoy would be a reach for the Cowboys, but so was Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee a year ago.

Guard Brandon Carter (Texas Tech): Carter is enormous (6-7, 344, 5.25) and certifiably insane — two fantastic qualities for an offensive lineman. What's not so fantastic is that he got suspended in September for the all-encompassing "violation of team rules." The red flag here is that he was suspended by then-Tech coach Mike Leach, who has never exactly shied away from weird people or controversial behavior. Carter has loads of talent and obvious physical gifts, but he also will need to be allowed a learning curve, as Texas Tech's offense employs a blocking scheme that requires its linemen to play in five-yard splits. Like a shotgun quarterback who has to learn to play under center in the NFL, that is an adjustment that can be made, but takes time.

Quarterback Colt McCoy (Texas): McCoy is as competitive, smart and tough as any player, and so popular he probably would win if he ran for mayor of Austin, or governor of Texas. But as prolific and successful as he was in college, he'll face an uphill battle in the NFL, where defenses are too strong and fast to let him run as effectively as he did for UT, and where defensive backs are fast enough to break on his passes. It wouldn't make sense for Dallas to draft him, anyway, after taking Texas A&M's McGee last year.



Fifth round


Emanuel Sanders holds virtually every SMU receiving record known to man and was also impressive at the East-West Shrine game.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (SMU): An excellent route-runner with sure hands, Sanders (5-11, 185, 4.45) drew rave reviews during the practices leading up to the East-West Shrine Game, when he consistently was able to separate from defenders. His draft stock might suffer a little from the perception some have about players who come out of head coach June Jones' Run-and-Shoot system, but those criticisms were muted a little this season by the development of players like Miami's Davone Bess, who played in Jones' offense at Hawaii and emerged this season as a viable NFL wideout. Sanders is fast and tough, and a vastly improved downfield blocker, and can return punts. He holds virtually every SMU receiving record, including career receptions, yards and touchdowns.

Wide receiver Jordan Shipley (Texas): The most prolific receiver in the history of Texas High School football waited his turn at Texas before busting out in his sixth year in Austin to become the Longhorns' most reliable receiver. The beneficiary of a sixth year of eligibility, the sure-handed Shipley (6-0, 190, 4.5) caught 205 of his 248 career passes in his last two seasons, including 116 as a senior, and is a strong punt returner.



Sixth round
Cornerback Jamarr Wall (Texas Tech): Wall is a tough, athletic corner who played in 50 games over four years for the Red Raiders, collecting 185 tackles and nine interceptions. Wall is effective at baiting the quarterback into throwing his way, and then breaking quickly on the ball … Will have to contribute on special teams, too, in order to make an NFL roster.




Gettis improved as a senior, catching a career-high 52 passes and scoring three touchdowns.

Seventh round
Wide receiver David Gettis (Baylor): Gettis (6-4, 215, 4.5) will be viewed by pro scouts the same way colleges viewed him coming out of high school: as a track star who should be a good football player, too. He has the size and speed that makes coaches drool, but in his first three seasons in Waco, he played in 35 games, caught fewer than 2.0 passes per game (64) and reached the end zone … exactly once.

Gettis improved as a senior, catching a career-high 52 passes and scoring three touchdowns, but he remained a player whose physical gifts exceeded his production. Some team will take a chance on him, but if the Cowboys are going to do it, they would be best served to wait until the seventh round, or possibly even into free agency.

CowboysHQ Top Stories