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May 06, 2014

Cowboys have spent a lot on CBs, though the production hasn't always matched it

Cornerback

Overview

This class doesn’t have an elite player like a Patrick Peterson, but it offers at least four first-rounders. Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller and TCU’s Jason Verrett all are expected to be first-round choices. There is quality depth in rounds two, three and four. After receiver, this position ranks second in terms of depth.

Cowboys’ needs

The Cowboys thought they shored up their cornerback position before the 2012 season when they signed then-free-agent Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal, and traded up in the draft to select Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick. But Claiborne lost his starting job to nickel back Orlando Scandrick last season, and Carr struggled, allowing 966 yards. Claiborne has missed seven games in his two seasons because of injuries, and he has failed to show play-making ability with only two interceptions and one forced fumbles in 25 games. Scandrick was the team’s best corner last season, allowing 50 catches for 559 yards and four touchdowns. The Cowboys drafted B.W. Webb in the fourth round last year, but he had a forgettable rookie season. It wouldn't be a surprise if they draft a cornerback or two at some point, though it probably won't be early.

Top five

Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, 5-11, 199, 4.52, He won the Jim Thorpe Award with 62 tackles, 10 pass breakups, four interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State, 6-0, 202, 4.37, The Huntsville product had 42 tackles, seven pass breakups and seven interceptions in 10 starts last season.

Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 190, 4.49, He had 24 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups last season in nine games.

Jason Verrett, TCU, 5-9, 189, 4.38, He was co-Big 12 defensive player of the year with 39 tackles, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 11 starts.

Marcus Roberson, Florida, 6-0, 191, 4.61, An injury-plagued 2013 season limited him to seven games, with four starts, and 11 tackles and three pass breakups.

Sleeper

Pierre Desir, Lindenwood, 6-1, 198, 4.59, He had 25 career interceptions at Washburn University and Lindenwood.

Top Texas tie

Phillip Gaines, Rice, 6-0, 193, 4.38, A possible second-round pick, he made 45 career starts and set the school record for passes defensed with 42.

-- Charean Williams

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