Mock Draft

The waiting game is over — it's time for the NFL Draft, which starts Thursday night. has been studying prospects for months, listening to rumors and checking with sources inside the walls of Valley Ranch, and now throws its proverbial hat into the ring with our Dallas Cowboys-only 2010 NFL Mock Draft.

These picks are made based on the current draft order, since trades can't be predicted. These picks are based on team needs, and include players in whom the Cowboys are known to have some level of interest:

Round 1 (27 overall)
Offensive tackle Charles Brown (USC)
: Ever since the release of Flozell Adams, the Cowboys' desire for another left tackle became an absolute necessity. Doug Free is an adequate backup, but his athletic limitations make him better-suited to stay on the right side. Brown has a long, athletic frame, just like Adams, and also relies more on his quickness and mobility more than his power. His strength will improve as he matures physically, but he is plenty big right now to step in right away and play, and comes from a USC program that uses some blocking schemes that are similar to those utilized by the Cowboys.

Round 2 (59 overall)
Safety Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)
: The 6-1, 209-pound Burnett is very effective against the run and the pass, and can play special teams. He is a smart, instinctive player who could play either the strong safety or free safety spot, and like Brown, would be given every opportunity to step in and take over a starting spot, either beside Gerald Sensabaugh or in place of him, depending on whether Sensabaugh re-signs with the team. The Yellow Jackets often use him as a "center field" type of safety because of his athleticism and ball skills, so ideally he would end up at free safety.

Round 3 (90 overall)
Cornerback Chris Cook (USC)
: Best known for his exceptional size (6-2, 212) for the position, but his 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash was the second-fastest among all cornerbacks at the NFL Combine in March. Despite his fast 40, he doesn't have the lateral quickness some coaches covet in a corner, so he's at his best lining up in press coverage against bulkier receivers and sparring with them for the ball. He also is a very willing and physical special teams player.

Round 4 (125 overall)
Tight end Clay Harbor (Missouri State)
: The 6-3, 252-pound Harbor was one of the first players the Cowboys invited to town for a pre-draft workout. He is one of those players who measures well and was productive, and will slide only because of the level of competition he faced, so he will fill a wide range of spots on different teams' draft boards. His 4.69 time in the 40 was tied for the fourth-fastest among tight ends at the Combine, and he caught 150 passes for 1,906 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career.

Round 6 (196 overall)
Linebacker Ryan Stamper (Florida)
: Completely overshadowed by the army of stars on the Gators' roster, including fellow linebacker Brandon Spikes, the 6-1 ½, 240-pound Stamper is one of those guys who doesn't draw much attention, but quietly contributes. He had 148 tackles in basically three years of playing time, a number that is somewhat skewed by the amount of time he spent on the sideline during Florida routs. Stamper was viewed as a sort of "dirty work" guy for the Gators, a mentality that makes him particularly effective on special teams.

Round 7 (234 overall)
Guard Casey Bender (South Dakota State)
: Starters Leonard Davis and Kyle Kosier both will turn 32 this season, and while each has been pretty durable, the team has been gotten by with marginal depth behind them. Bender was recruited to play tight end for the Jackrabbits, and has carried over his athleticism to his new role as he grew into his sizeable frame. He missed part of the 2006 and 2008 seasons with injuries, but when he has played, he has been a very effective blocker, especially in pass protection.

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