Jason Garrett defines rounds, roles

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have four picks in the top 113, and with those selections Jason Garrett hopes to land three eventual starters and a solid role player.

“Our objective independent of this year would be to in the first round, the second round and the third round have guys who can be starting players for you,” Garrett said. “Now, are they Day 1 starters? You can’t say that. Nobody can say that, but at some point in their careers you would like to think that they’re a starter, and the sooner the better. Now, if you can get in the fourth round and start getting a starter player, maybe he’s a younger player who needs time to develop but can be a starter down the road, you get four of them. Or maybe that fourth-round player is a [special] teams’ guy. Maybe he has a particular role and will never be an every-down player but he has a role for you that’s fairly defined.

“And then when you get in the fifth, sixth and seventh [rounds], I think you’re looking for players with special traits. Again, maybe a role for your team or maybe a guy who isn’t ready to play but maybe has the measurables and the makeup and you think down the road can be a player for you in a given role or maybe even as a starter. But your expectations are certainly first- and second-round players are starters for you sooner rather than later. You would like to be able to say that about the third round or a really defined role and the fourth round starts to get a little bit different than that, but we’re all optimistic enough or maybe na├»ve enough to think that we can judge these players and order them in a certain way that they can help our football team in some way, shape or form as starters or as significant role players now or in the future.”

Using that criteria, the Cowboys' projected starting lineup in 2012 has 10 starters picked by the Cowboys from Rounds 1-3: Dez Bryant (2010), Tyron Smith (2011), Jason Witten (2003), DeMarco Murray (2011), Jason Hatcher (2006), Anthony Spencer (2007), Sean Lee (2010), DeMarcus Ware (2005) Bruce Carter (2011) and Mike Jenkins (2007). The fourth round led the Cowboys to Doug Free (2006) and the seventh round led to Jay Ratliff (2005).

Felix Jones and Marcus Spears, first rounders in 2007 and '05 respectively, should play large roles in sub packages.