Cowboys Draft Troy’s Demarcus Ware in 1st Round
The first 10 picks could’ve shaped out any better for the Cowboys, who had their pick of front-seven players to choose from the No. 11 pick. While more proven and experienced players were available, the Cowboys opted for a pure pass rusher, taking Troy defensive end Demarcus Ware. The 6-4, 245-pounder had 28 career sacks in his four years for the Trojans, including 11 last year as a senior. Ware is considered one of the most athletic defensive players in this draft and uses his superior speed and quickness to get to the quarterback.
Ware, the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season, was moved to an outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl, playing some in the 3-4 scheme. He had three tackles and two quarterback pressures playing limited playing time in annual All-Star game in Mobile, Ala.
The Cowboys were also looking at Maryland defensive end/outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson and LSU defensive end Marcus Spears.
Ware is the latest attempt the Cowboys have made to find a pure pass rusher since they lost Charles Haley back in 1996. Since 1994, the Cowboys have now picked a defensive end with their top pick in five different drafts, starting with Shante Carver, followed by Kavika Pittman, Greg Ellis, Ebenezer Ekuban and now Ware.
No surprise that the Cowboys took a pass rusher with their first pick, although one from my old stomping grounds is interesting. Certainly, a player from a major conference would have been a safer bet. Or, indeed, trading down a few spots to grab one of the numerous quality defensive ends or linebackers in this draft.
Ware is the first a Troy (State) player ever taken in the 1st round. The ESPN draft tracker thinks it a good pick:
The Cowboys have filled a number of needs in free agency, and with two first-round picks had the opportunity to address a couple of more. Ware fills one. He is a hybrid DE/OLB with explosive speed and loads of pass-rushing potential. Ware’s draft stock skyrocketed after an impressive showing at the combine.
Cowboys pick Troy’s Ware (Matt Mosley and Rick Gosselin, DMN)
The Cowboys stayed put in the first round of this season’s draft, selecting Troy defensive end Demarcus Ware with their first pick in the first round Saturday. Dallas also will pick at No. 20. The Cowboys may also go for defense with that pick, possibly LSU defensive end Marcus Spears. Last year, the Cowboys traded out of the first round, sending their pick to Buffalo.
Ware is known for his great closing speed in the pass rush. He was a receiver in high school and wasn’t highly recruited. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 after he had 19 tackles for a loss and 10 1/2 sacks. He also caused four fumbles in 2004. He started 34 of 43 games during his career at Troy.
Ware had an impressive showing at the NFL combine with a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash and he has jumped as high as 38 inches. Ware weighed 198 pounds coming out of high school. He grew into a 251-pounder at Troy.
Ware is viewed as one of the best pass rushers in a draft light on quality pass rushers. He ranked eighth in the NCAA with 11 sacks in 2005 and collected 28 in his career at Troy. Only one school recruited Ware Ã¢€“ Troy, located 80 miles to the southwest of Auburn. And the Trojans gave Ware the push he needed. Ware started his final three years at Troy and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as college football’s best defensive end. Ware wanted to play at Auburn but never got the chance. “That’s been driving me since I got in college,” Ware said recently. “I wanted to set the stage for the guys at the small schools. Hey, we can play with the guys at the bigger schools. We can be just as competitive as they are.”
Ware was ranked 12th overall on Gooselin’s board.
Update (4-24): DallasCowboys.com has audio feeds of several first day wrap-ups: