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Compensatory pick has value for Cowboys

IRVING -- Last week the Cowboys were awarded a seventh-round compensatory pick by the NFL even if they did not lose a player to unrestricted free agency in 2010. Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin do not count because they were cut, in case you were wondering.

Normally the 251st pick would bring a shrug of the shoulders, but it is a little different this year.

Because there is no collective bargaining agreement teams will not be able to sign any college free agents once the draft is over. Teams are not even supposed to talk to prospective free agents to set up a deal once a CBA is in place.

Over the years the Cowboys have done an excellent job of finding undrafted nuggets for low five-figure signing bonuses. For some of their troubles in hitting on players in the middle rounds, the Cowboys have done better than most in getting guys this way.Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Sam Hurd, Stephen Bowen, Kevin Ogletree and Danny McCray come to mind in recent years.

So look at the Cowboys’ second seventh-round pick as their first priority free agent in a way. The seventh round has not been too bad for the Cowboys either: Patrick Crayton, Jay Ratliff, Pat McQuistan and Alan Ball contributed at varying levels from a round that produces next to nothing.