Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Courtney Upshaw watches the other linebackers run the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Possible Dallas Cowboys Draft Pick: Courtney Upshaw

Dallas Cowboys-related Tweet of the Week: @RossTuckerNFL “Isn’t the performance of the Redskins/Cowboys last 2 seasons enough evidence that no real competitive edge was gained?”

Unfortunately, most of the news going on about the Cowboys this week is Jerry Jones’ (surprise) grievance file. If you don’t want to talk about that, other recent Cowboys news include the re-signing of Kevin Ogletree and the retirement of Marion Barber. With the loss of Robinson, Ogletree will again battle Radway and Harris and Holley for the third WR slot, as well as being a feature in the special teams packages. The Cowboys might not be done in free agency, but also on the horizon is the NFL Draft. For my next article in my series of possible Cowboys draft picks, I take a look at an OLB/DE from Alabama, Courtney Upshaw.

Named first team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and the Sporting News in his senior year, Upshaw is considered one of the best outside linebacker prospects coming out of the draft (on some boards, he’s as high as 11). He certainly made his presence felt in the 2012 National Championship Game, winning defensive MVP by getting seven tackles and one sack. At the combine, he received a grade of 88.0 (immediate starter), ran a 4.76 40-yard dash, and did 22 reps on the bench press. Upshaw can overpower offensive linemen with his excellent physical strength at 6’2″, 272 lbs. Playing in the SEC, he has played against pretty stiff competitive and still was able to overpower running backs and many tight ends.

However, with great lower body power, comes great lower body immobility. His feet can be slow at times and he has problems moving laterally. His main feature is his bull-rush and that really hinders him chasing outside routes or dropping back into coverage. He certainly won’t be the next D-Ware, but people have compared him to Ryan Kerrigan or Lamarr Woodley. He certainly has pass-rushing ability and potential, but ended up only having 16 sacks at Alabama.

While there is a chance that Upshaw will be available at 14, there is also a chance that he won’t. But is he really a good fit for the Cowboys? Many people don’t think he’ll fit into Ryan’s 3-4 system, but there has been some talk of moving to the 4-3 scheme. While Ware does need all the help he can get, Jones and Ryan will have to think long and hard whether or not Upshaw can blend in the new-and-improved defense. What do you think, readers?

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