Well, it's now past 10:00 and the Steelers have not made a pick during the 9:00 hour (and I haven't received a PM from steelblood giving me the Steelers' preferred pick), so they can now be leapfrogged on their own board. If steelblood does not make his pick by 11:00, then the Giants will jump over them as well, and then I will make the Steelers' pick for him.
Dallas has a big need at safety, and local product Kenny Vaccaro is still on the board. However, Dallas has an even bigger need along the interior o-line, and there is an even better value available there.
The Dallas Cowboys are proud to select:
North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper
Height 6'2", Weight 311 LBS, Arm Length 33", Hands 10 1/4"
Overview: Scouts have focused on the Tar Heels' defense, for the most part, over the past few seasons; nine UNC defenders have been selected in the last three drafts. But Cooper might be North Carolina's highest-drafted lineman since tackle Harris Barton was drafted in the first round (No. 22 overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in 1987.
He achieved a rare feat by being voted his high school conference's player of the year as a senior offensive lineman, the same year his team won North Carolina Class 4-A state title. Cooper also wrestled, which scouts always like to see because that sport teaches players how to use their hands effectively in one-on-one situations. This skill set made him a starter at left guard for 10 games (he missed three starts with an ankle injury) as a redshirt freshman, earning a place on the All-ACC Freshman team. Cooper has stayed healthy in each of the past two seasons, starting all 26 games (the 2010 opener at center and the following 25 at left guard) and earning second-team All-ACC honors as both a sophomore and junior. He had surgery on his left shoulder after the 2011 season to alleviate chronic inflammation. Cooper continued his excellent play as a senior, earning spots on the first-team All-American and All-ACC teams, as well as winning the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy.
Strengths: Athletic guard, but with some girth in his lower body to anchor against oncoming tackles. Tough to beat in pass protection, possesses foot quickness, bend, and arm extension to mirror. Excellent mobility behind the line, regularly pulls to the left and right. Excellent at adjusting quickly to negate moving targets on the second level. Springs out of his stance to reach linebackers in the run game or to jump inside of tackles to seal off a rushing lane. Used as a personal protector on a moving pocket. Shows good hand strength, popping his defender quickly off the snap and getting inside hand position. Flashes some attitude when challenged, maintaining contact and chasing his man out of the play. Quick recovery speed to get up after a cut block. Good pad level and surge coming out of his stance. Gets vertical movement on his man on base and double blocks. Constantly works his feet and swings his hips to get position on reach blocks. Rolls his hips through contact, and works to place his body between his man and the ball carrier.
Weaknesses: Has only average height and bulk, and is a bit long-legged for the position (though he should continue to grow in an NFL strength and conditioning program). Functional strength is only adequate; stronger tackles get a bit of push against him in pass protection. Will have occasional missed assignments in pass protection.
NFL Comparison: Ben Grubbs
Bottom Line: Cooper, an extremely athletic left guard, racked up a number of all-conference awards during his four years starting, capping it off with a first-team All-American selection as a senior. He has the athleticism to play in a number of different schemes. Due to his ability to lead the way on runs and outstanding pass protection skills, he projects to be one of the first guards selected in the draft. He showed improved on his functional strength in his senior season, but he needs to continue adding bulk and strength.