It was only two weeks ago that a club official put the odds of the Cowboys franchising Anthony Spencer for a second consecutive year at "negative-4 percent." Dallas, though, now will try to sign Spencer to a long-term deal after clearing enough salary-cap space last week to allow the Cowboys to use the $10.638 million franchise tag on him.
It means the Cowboys aren't likely to use the 18th overall pick on a defensive end with Spencer and DeMarcus Ware now solidifying the position. BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was one of the names associated with the Cowboys in some mock drafts.
Dallas will have Jason Hatcher and Jay Ratliff at defensive tackle, but since there are so many quality defensive tackles in the draft, the Cowboys could select one early. Florida's Sharrif Floyd should be gone before the Cowboys select, and Utah's Star Lotulelei could be, depending on how his heart condition checks out. But Missouri's Sheldon Richardson and Purdue's Kawann Short could fall in the Cowboys' range.
Safety also could be an option, if the Rams don't select Texas' Kenny Vaccaro at No. 16.
But offensive line might now be a better bet for the Cowboys. North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper and Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker could be on the board when Dallas' turn arrives. Alabama guard Chance Warmack likely will be gone, but who thought Dallas would end up with Mo Claiborne last year, so if Warmack starts falling....
-- Charean Williams