Mays still high on Dallas radar

The Dallas Cowboys announced Thursday that safety Patrick Watkins has signed his tender, leading to some speculation that the team's reported interest in USC safety Taylor Mays will diminish.

But has learned that the Watkins signing does nothing to reduce the team's interest in Mays. If Dallas doesn't select an offensive tackle in the first round of next week's NFL Draft, and if Mays remains available, he is on the short list of candidates the team is believed to be willing to consider with the 27th overall pick.

The back end of the Dallas defense is in a state of flux: free safety Ken Hamlin was cut, and strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh has yet to sign with Dallas or any other team.

In Watkins, the Cowboys will retain one of the most physically intriguing safeties in the league. At 6-foot-5, and with extremely long arms and sprinter's speed, Watkins is a capable defender in pass coverage, but where he really shines is on special teams.

Watkins is the eighth Dallas free agent to sign a tender with the team, joining defensive end Stephen Bowen, cornerback Cletis Gordon, defensive end Jason Hatcher, offensive lineman Pat McQuistan, guard/center Cory Proctor, nose tackle Junior Siavii and defensive end Marcus Spears.

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