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Cowboys Bulk Up in Draft

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, poses with Tyron Smith, who was selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the ninth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

    The Dallas Cowboys bulked up in the NFL draft, and got a couple of all-purpose offensive players as well. All while owner Jerry Jones uncharacteristically stayed in place without any draft-day deals.

    "As it turned out, we followed the board," Jones said.

    Dallas added the second offensive lineman in its first four picks, getting started on the final day Saturday by selecting 6-foot-5, 302-pound David Arkin from Missouri State with the 110th overall pick in the fourth round.

    The Cowboys had already taken 6-5, 310-pound offensive tackle Tyron Smith from Southern Cal with the ninth overall pick. Smith was the first lineman they have drafted in the first round under Jones' ownership.

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    East Carolina receiver Dwayne Harris was the 176th overall pick in the sixth round. Harris and third-round pick, Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray, both had more than 6,300 all-purpose yards in college. They both returned kickoffs, and Harris also returned punts, something Murray might also do in the pros.

    For only the second time since Jones bought the team and went through his first draft in 1989, the Cowboys didn't make any deals the entire draft. The only other time was 2000.

    "We did something kind of different certainly from my perspective, and we didn't do any trading," Jones said. "It wasn't that we didn't have some real things to think about and high anxiety that comes with those kinds of decisions."

    The ongoing NFL labor situation limited how such draft-day deals could be made this year. Only picks, not players, could be swapped -- but that is something Jones had done often among the 58 draft-day trades he has made.

    Dallas went into this year's draft with eight picks, and selected in those exact spots.

    Bruce Carter, a speedy linebacker from North Carolina coming off a torn left ACL, was the 40th overall pick in the second round and Murray was selected 71st overall.

    The Cowboys used their fifth-round selection, the 143rd overall pick, to get Buffalo cornerback Josh Thomas before selecting Harris in the sixth round. Hard-nosed blocking fullback Shaun Chapas from Georgia was taken 220th overall in the seventh round and Dallas used a compensatory pick at 252nd overall to get Wisconsin center Bill Nagy.

    In the Cowboys' first draft with Jason Garrett as head coach, and also the offensive coordinator like he has been since 2007, they used six picks on offensive players.

    That means only two fresh pieces for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, an indication that the Cowboys must have a lot of faith in returning players for his own version of a 3-4 scheme.

    It is the fewest defensive players Dallas has ever taken in a Jones-led draft.

    Stephen Jones, the owner's son and team's director of player personnel, said the defense likely will be bolstered through unrestricted free agency or trades once the NFL labor situation is settled.

    Before going to Buffalo, Thomas played high school in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill, where he played for a Texas 5A state championship team in 2006. At 5-11, 196 pounds, Thomas is a bit undersized at cornerback, but is a speedster who also competed as a sprinter on Buffalo's track and field team.

    Arkin started all 44 of his games at Missouri State, where he was on The Associated Press FCS All-American team last season. He is also smart, with a 3.71 GPA in construction management.

    At Missouri State, Arkin played right guard for three seasons before moving to left tackle as a senior. He believes his versatility and a "bit of a mean streak" likely caught the attention of NFL teams, though he was a bit surprised to get a call from Jerry Jones.

    "It wasn't a team that I figured targeted me or whatever. You talk to a lot of teams, and think some are looking at you more than others," Arkin said. "I talked to (the Cowboys) at the combine. Beside that, they hadn't really had contact with me."

    Arkin wasn't even watching the NFL draft on television Saturday. To ease his anxious emotions waiting for a call, he had decided to get out of the house and go to the mall to pick up a case for his phone.

    With only a handful of NCAA Division II and junior college offers out of high school in Wichita, Kansas, Arkin took the only Division I offer he had -- from Missouri State.

    He played in the East-West Shrine Classic in January, which he called a good test. Now the kid who was spurned by home state universities Kansas and Kansas State is a fourth-round NFL draft pick.

    "That's something that put a chip on my shoulder. Coming out of high school, I didn't get an offer from the local teams," Arkin said. "It worked out for the best."

    Harris set the East Carolina career record with 268 catches for 3,001 yards, including 101 catches for 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He averaged 23.3 yards on kickoff returns and 9.4 yards on punt returns for the Pirates.

    "I talked to (the Cowboys) when I was in Indianapolis for the combine," Harris said. "They said that they were very high on me as a special teams player and as a third down receiver and a third down receiver in the slot."