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Dallas Cowboys 2011 Draft Preview

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A Dallas Cowboys helmet sits on the field prior to the team's game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 22, 2007. (credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

A Dallas Cowboys helmet sits on the field prior to the team’s game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 22, 2007. (credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (Sports Network) – Jerry Jones usually isn’t very poker-faced about players that strike his fancy, and there appear to be two members — LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Southern Cal offensive tackle Tyron Smith — of this draft class that the boisterous Cowboys owner is particularly fond of.

The fast-rising Smith should be available when Dallas makes its selection at No. 9 overall, and the young lineman makes a lot of sense for a team that’s old and not especially deep up front.

The Cowboys would probably have to trade up to land the supremely-talented Peterson, but last year’s deal to nab standout wide receiver Dez Bryant in the first round is further proof Jones is willing to do whatever it takes to get his man.

Peterson would presumably take over for veteran Terence Newman, Dallas’ most recent top 10 choice (2003) who’s a potential roster casualty due to a high salary and declining play.

The Cowboys may also have to replace both of last year’s starting safeties, though that may come through free agency, while the defensive line could possibly lose three of its top four ends once the market finally opens up.

2010 Record: 6-10

Top Needs: S, OT, CB, DE

First Three Picks: No. 27, No. 59, No. 90

Number of Selections: 8 (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 7)

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY:

2010Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State);

2009 – none;

2008Felix Jones (RB, Arkansas), Mike Jenkins (CB, South Florida);

2007 – Anthony Spencer (LB, Purdue);

2006 – Bobby Carpenter (LB, Ohio State);

2005DeMarcus Ware (OLB, Troy), Marcus Spears (DL, LSU);

2004 – none;

2003Terence Newman (CB, Kansas State);

2002Roy Williams (S, Oklahoma).

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