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2011 NFL Draft Grades, 49ers Opponents: Dallas Cowboys

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to take a look at the 49ers 2011 non-divisional opponents and how they fared during the draft. This afternoon I am going to focus on our favorite nemesis, the Dallas Cowboys. A team that the 49ers have a long and heralded history against. Both the 49ers and Cowboys fell on hard times during the 2010 season. In fact, they were a combined 1-12.

While our 49ers put together a pretty decent draft class, the same really cannot be said about the Dallas Cowboys; at least early on in the draft. After the jump I will delve further into what transpired during the draft in regards to those funny men from Texas.

1st Round, 9th Pick OT Tyron Smith Southern California

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 10

Overview: Smith has the most upside of any offensive tackle to enter the draft over the last couple years. That said he is still extremely young and raw; meaning that he won't be ready to play immediately. I also have to conclude that there is a huge possibility that he becomes a bust. With the exception of the Panthers taking Cam Newton #1 overall, the Cowboys took a huge risk in the selection of Smith.

Tyron Smith is extremely good at pass blocking, something the Cowboys needed desperately; but, when will he be able to contribute? I envision a scenario in which Smith will not be ready to take over full time until his 3rd year in the league. That is a long time to wait for a top 10 pick. That said, sometimes you have to bit the bullet and go for the upside, and the Cowboys did that with Smith. Grade: B+

2nd Round, 40th Pick: LB Bruce Carter North Carolina

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 51 2010 Stats: 57 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks

Overview: There are a lot of questions when it comes to this pick; it pretty much shocked me. Was LB an immediate need for the Cowboys? Do they plan on moving Bruce Carter inside? Wasn't cornerback more of a need in the 2nd round? Why not draft Brooks Reed instead? All these questions lead me to believe that this was pretty much a wasted pick.

I am not a fan of Carter's, I believe that he is too slow off the ball and will be eaten up by opposing linemen. But, even if the Cowboys went with Reed here, it wouldn't make any sense. Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware combined for 21 sacks in 2010, this with Spencer having somewhat of a down year. The Cowboys secondary was abysmal last season and the didn't address it here. Grade: D

3rd Round, 71st Pick: RB DeMarco Murray Oklahoma

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 64 2010 Stats: 1214 Rush Yards, 4.3 AVG, 71 Receptions, 594 Yards, 20 TD

Overview: Is Murray going to be a productive RB in the NFL? Yes! In fact, I believe that he has a strong future ahead of him as a feature back in the near future. That said, it probably wont be on the Dallas Cowboys. They currently have Felix Jones, Tashard Choice and Marion Barber on the roster. All of them are solid RBs, and will be ahead of Murray on the depth chart.

I do understand that they Cowboys are going to part ways with Barber when the off-season eventually starts, but that still leaves Jones and Choice ahead of Murray. At some point you have to address your needs in the draft and the Cowboys decided to go with "flashiness" here instead. No matter my opinion of Murray, it was a mistake for them to do s. Grade: C

4th Round, 110th Pick: G David Arkin Missouri State

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 216

Overview: Kyle Kosier is going to be a free agent when it actually starts, so on the surface this makes some sense. Additionally, it must be noted that Kosier would only be a stop gap moving forward and the Cowboys would have to find a permanent replacement.

The issue that I have with this selection is that the Cowboys didn't get value at a position of need. I am not going to pretend to know much about Arkin, but from what I have read in scouting reports this was an incredible reach in the 4th round. The should have gone corner here with Jalil Brown and Rashad Carmichael and waited to address the guard position later. Grade: D

5th Round, 143rd Pick: CB Josh Thomas Buffalo

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 247 2010 Stats: 58 Tackles, 1 INT

Overview: Well, finally the Cowboys address the corner position here and did so with one of my sleepers of the draft. I am a huge fan of Josh Thomas, not just because I have seen him play in person; but, because he has all the skills to be a solid corner in the NFL.

At 5 foot, 10 inches Thomas isn't your prototypical NFL corner, but what he lacks in size Thomas makes up in ability. He is extremely aggressive in the box, which could hurt the Cowboys long term. But, what I see in him is a fearless ability to get to the ball and stick to the receiver like glue. Grade: A

6th Round, 176th Pick: WR Dwayne Harris East Carolina

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 160 2010 Stats: 101 Receptions, 1123 Yards, 10 TD

Overview: With Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Roy Williams and Sam Hurd the Cowboys really didn't have a need at wide receiver, but the 6th round is a nice place to get value; they got that in Jones. I understand that the competition wasn't great at East Carolina but Harris tore it up.

I could easily see Harris being plugged in as the slot receiver behind Austin and Bryant once the Cowboys decide to cut ties with Roy Williams. If so, this was a great pick. Grade: A

7th Round, 220th Pick: FB Shaun Capas Georgia

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 292 2010 Stats: 15 Attempts, 44 Yards, 2 TD

Overview: The Cowboys needed a FB and got a good one in Capas with their first 7th round pick. I don't have too much more to say about Capas other than that he will be a solid lead blocker for whoever the Cowboys decide to feature in the backfield. Grade: A

7th Round, 252nd Pick: C Bill Nagy Wisconsin

CBS Sports Line Ranking: 740

Overview: Listen, I understand that it was a compensatory selection, so it is hard to criticize. But, if the Cowboys were going for a center moving forward, it should have been the likes of Kristofer O'Dowd, Chase Beeler or even Zach Williams here. Nagy just seems like a huge reach even with the 252nd pick Grade: N/A

Synopsis: The Cowboys did address some needs in this draft with Tyron Smith, Josh Thomas and Shaun Capas, but they failed horribly in rounds 2-4. It is hard for me to give them a good grade because late round "gems" do not override costly mistakes earlier on.

The Cowboys could have easily addressed the corner position in the 2nd round instead of going after Bruce Carter. After all, Brandon Harris was still available. DeMarco Murray promises to be a real good NFL RB, I just really see no reason why the Cowboys "wasted" a 3rd round pick at that position. Felix Jones and Tashard Choice are more than capable of shouldering the load at that position over the next half decade or so.

Overall, I would have to conclude that the Cowboys did get some decent players, but given the players that were available; especially in rounds 2-4, they missed horribly. Final Grade: C