|National Football League|
Cowboys get DE Tyrone Crawford in 3rd round
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
IRVING, Texas (AP) After a long wait to make their second pick of the NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys kept their focus on the defense.
The Cowboys got Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford with the 81st overall pick in the third round. It was their only selection and owner Jerry Jones had to wait more than three hours and watch 48 other players get selected Friday night before he got his turn.
"Long day," Jones said. "Long day."
Dallas didn't have a second-round pick, having traded the 45th overall pick to be able to move up eight spots and get LSU All-American cornerback Morris Claiborne at No. 6 on Thursday night.
There was only one time since Jones bought the team in 1989 that the Cowboys had to wait longer to make a second pick in the draft. That was in 2000, when they didn't have picks in the first or third rounds and their second selection wasn't until the 109th overall in the fourth round.
One of their pressing offseason goals this year was to add potential impact players for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. That includes pass rushers up front.
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Crawford has that kind of potential after having 13 1/2 sacks in 25 games in his two seasons at Boise State.
"A guy that we really feel like has some upside and can do a few different things for us," coach Jason Garrett said. "The thing we probably like about him most is his potential, maybe more than that his motor, the way he plays. He's a high-energy guy, very active. ... We just love the demeanor that he plays with."
Jones said a good comparison is Jay Ratliff, the Cowboys' former seventh-round pick who blossomed into a three-time Pro Bowl player.
Garrett said the Cowboys believe Crawford, who didn't start playing football until ninth grade, has the "real potential" to grow into a first- and second-down player and also be a third-down rusher.
"I definitely consider myself a student of the game" Crawford said, adding that he will be looking to learn a lot from the veterans.
In his first season in Dallas, Ryan installed his scheme without the benefit of offseason workouts because of the NFL lockout last summer. The Cowboys were better last year, allowing only 347 points after giving up a franchise-worst 436 the season before he got there, but still lost four of their last five games and missed the playoffs after losing the season finale to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Dallas was active in free agency last month, signing cornerback Brandon Carr to a $50 million, five-year deal that includes $26.5 million guaranteed. Among other free agents they signed were safety Brodney Pool and linebacker Dan Connor.
Now with their first two picks in the draft, the Cowboys have picked as many defensive players as they did with their eight selections last April.
Jones said Crawford was the top player on their list of potential third-rounders and fits the bill of "a guy you can draft that's not necessarily a starter that has a chance" to grow into a starter's role.
Crawford started 11 of his 25 games at Boise State. He had 76 tackles, caused four fumbles and recovered three others for Boise after two junior college seasons in California. Asked if was an overachiever, Crawford said, "I guess I would consider myself one of those. I go hard in practice and when it comes to games."
Crawford is from Canada, having lettered in football, basketball and track and field at Catholic Central High in Windsor, Ontario. He was the first Canadian player selected in this year's NFL draft.
Dallas has five picks to wrap up the draft Saturday, including two in the fourth round (113th and 135th overall). They also have one pick in each of the last three rounds, Nos. 152, 186 and 222 overall.
There is always the chance that the Cowboys could do some dealing to add picks, or move up again like they did in the first round.
The Cowboys have made 59 draft-day trades under Jones. Their first-round pick has been involved in 18 of the owner's 24 drafts, including this year's move.
Updated April 27, 2012