Climbing The Cowboys' Draft Board

Ever since the Dallas Cowboys released left tackle Flozell Adams and free safety Ken Hamlin, the common assumption has been that the Cowboys would draft a replacement for one player or the other in the first round.

That still seems to be the likely scenario, but multiple sources have told that another player has been making the rounds with great regularity around the halls at Valley Ranch.

Whether he is available when Dallas picks again in the second round (at No. 59 overall) remains to be seen, but word is the Cowboys have become somewhat enamored with Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick.

In college, he played inside, but in a 3-4 defense like the one Dallas employs, most see Odrick sliding outside to be a defensive end. Odrick measured 6-foot-5 and weighed 305 pounds at the NFL Combine, and he regularly clocks right around a 5.0 in the 40-yard dash.

Odrick isn't lightning-fast, as defensive ends go, but he fits the mold of the players Dallas likes at the position, like Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen. Each is strong and plays the run well, just as Odrick does. He has long arms and uses leverage well, and while he might not collective massive sack totals, he does close quickly and is big and strong enough to tie up blockers (an area in which his experience as an interior lineman will pay off) while linebackers shoot through to make plays.

Some see Odrick going in the first round, and barring a trade that gives the Cowboys a second pick in the draft's first round, it's hard to imagine them going after a defensive lineman that early. But if he's still available when Dallas picks for the second time, don't be surprised if he ends up being chosen by the Cowboys.

Maybe he is seen as a cheaper version of one of the free agent defensive ends — Spears signed his tender Tuesday, but there is widespread speculation that either Hatcher or Bowen will walk, and both should enjoy huge pay raises, either in Dallas or elsewhere.

But regardless of the philosophy involved, Odrick's stock is rising, and Dallas is among the teams that likes him.

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