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NFL Combine: Pros and cons of Cowboys' potential draftees

Oklahoma State will be well-represented at the biggest audition for pro football prospects — also known as the NFL Scouting Combine.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: February 24, 2012
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Oklahoma State will be well-represented at the biggest audition for pro football prospects — also known as the NFL Scouting Combine.

Included in the six former Cowboys participating are a sure-bet top-10 draft pick (Justin Blackmon), a top-tier quarterback (Brandon Weeden), a mid-to-late round defensive back (Markelle Martin) and a trio of players trying to prove they deserve to be selected (defensive end Jamie Blatnick, wide receiver Josh Cooper, safety Johnny Thomas).

Here is a breakdown of what each prospect has to gain at the Combine when workouts begin Saturday.

1. Johnny Thomas

Position: Safety

Size: 5-11, 200

Where he'll impress: Excels in zone coverage. Plays downhill while filling gaps in run support.

Where he'll underwhelm: Off-the-field issues. Struggles in man coverage

What he can gain at Combine: Plenty. It could be the difference between getting drafted and not getting drafted. He'll get a chance to publicly show his physical skills for the first time in more than a year, and he'll have an opportunity to explain to teams what led to him being ruled ineligible for the entire 2011 season by the NCAA.

Current draft projection: Free agent/late rounds

2. Brandon Weeden

Position: Quarterback

Size: 6-3, 215

Where he'll impress: Top-notch arm strength. Mental makeup/leadership skills would be an asset to any locker room.

Where he'll underwhelm: Age. Lack of ability to scramble and make plays outside of the pocket.

What he can gain at Combine: ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper pegged Weeden as the single player with the most to gain this week. He will shine during the interview process and has his response to the age question ready to go. A great performance in Indianapolis could push him into the late first round.

Current draft projection: Second round/late first round

3. Jamie Blatnick

Position: Defensive end

Size: 6-3, 264

Where he'll impress: Strength. Versatility to play the run, rush the passer and occasionally drop into coverage.

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