With the Cowboys headed for the top of the draft board come April, we thought we'd get a jump start on introducing you to the players who could wind up being a big part of the next Cowboys team. Next up is Prince Amukamara.
Name: Prince Amukamara
Why He Should Be the Pick: Amukamara was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press on Tuesday, he's a two-time All-Big 12 selection and he's a good bet to win the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best collegiate defensive back. His size is ideal, he makes play after play on balls thrown in his direction and he's done it all against excellent competition.
Impressive credentials, to be sure, but if you want the real reason why Amukamara fits in with the Cowboys you need not look any further than one of the umpteen replays of DeSean Jackson's two big catches on Sunday night. The first came when he simply ran past Terence Newman for a 68-yard tablesetter on Philly's first offensive play of the game and the second was when Mike Jenkins gambled and lost on a short out pattern that Jackson's speed turned into a 91-yard score.
It's become apparent this season that neither of the Cowboys starting cornerbacks are the elite players some imagined when they made the Pro Bowl in 2009. Newman was once close at or near that level, but he's on the wrong side of the career hill and is better suited to be a slot corner at this point. Jenkins looks nothing like the player he was last season and the chances of competing for Super Bowls without a lockdown corner are somewhere between slim and none.
Amukamara could be that kind of corner. Patrick Peterson, a previous player in this series, could also be that player, but he could also find himself shuffled to safety. That won't happen with Amukamara.
Why He Won't Be the Pick: There's no big black mark against Amukamara. The biggest problem could be that the recent uptick in results keeps the Cowboys from grabbing a high enough draft slot to secure his services come April. Otherwise, the biggest drawbacks would be that you could make arguments for the team having bigger needs on the offensive and defensive lines. That argument is losing steam every time Newman and Jenkins got torched, however.
Likelihood: When we profiled Peterson, we put him at 50 percent which would have worked for Amukamara as well. That number seems much too high at this date, however. The Cowboys have won three games since then, knocking them down in the draft order, and that is going to make it harder to nab prospects who can play one of the most prized positions in today's pass-happy NFL. So call it 30 percent with further adjustments made based on the results of the next few weeks.
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