Ed Thompson profiles four players from small schools who have made their case as big-time players…
Cowboys Snag Small-School Star
After trading down in the fourth round, the Dallas Cowboys selected Indiana University of Pennsylvania cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. While he isn't a household name to most fans, he is a very intriguing prospect and one of the best small-school players in the country.
Owusu-Ansah measured in at the NFL Combine at 6 feet and 207 pounds. His 40-yard dash time of 4.47 tied him for the third-fastest among cornerbacks, and 10th-fastest among all players at all positions.
Owusu-Ansah was an often-dominant player at IUP, leading all Div. II players with eight interceptions in 2008 (he had 10 in his career). He also is a dangerous return specialist, averaging 25.9 yards on 53 career kickoff returns (three of which he returned for touchdowns), and 11.3 yards on 70 career punt returns, taking four back for scores. His draft stock suffered because of the level of competition he faced at IUP, but he has excellent speed and great hands. There will be a learning curve, but the tools are there.
Owner Jerry Jones has said that first-round pick Dez Bryant factors into the Cowboys' plans in the return game; don't be surprised to see Owusu-Ansah fielding kicks in mini-camp and training camp, too.
At IUP, Owusu-Ansah played both cornerback and safety, and might be able to play either position at the NFL level. He would immediately become the Cowboys' biggest cornerback and/or fastest safety, and has the center field-type ball skills to play free safety.
Owusu-Ansah had surgery in March to repair a shoulder injury that kept him out of postseason all-star games.
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