Cowboys pick Canadian at NFL draft

A general exterior view of Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Chris...

A general exterior view of Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Chris Chambers/Getty Images/AFP)

John Kryk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:08 AM ET

NEW YORK - America's Team has added a Canadian.

On Friday night at the NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Windsor, Ont., native Tyrone Crawford in the third round, with the 81st overall selection.

The pick was announced shortly after 10 p.m. EDT here at Radio City Music Hall.

Crawford was a pass-rushing specialist at defensive end at Boise State University.

"When I got the call I was surprised," Crawford told QMI Agency shortly late Friday from his mom's home in Windsor.

"Dallas is a great destination. Obviously they've got great coaches and a great defence, and I can't wait to play for them."

A 6-foot-4, 282-pounder, the supremely athletic Crawford rose up draft charts following a strong performance in January at a post-season college all-star game, the East-West Shrine Game.

He played two seasons at Boise State, following two at Bakersfield Junior College in California.

Crawford said it was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones himself who gave him the good news by phone.

"He said he thought I was a great player, that I'm the type of guy that they want," Crawford said.

He is the Cowboys' second pick of the draft, after the club traded away its second-rounder. On Thursday the Cowboys took LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall selection. Claiborne said his mom is a huge Cowboys fan.

Guess what? So is Crawford's mom, Tara. Crawford said he himself liked Dallas while growing up just three miles from the Lions' Ford Field — in Windsor, a city that borders Detroit.

And, as with Claiborne, the Cowboys did not tip the pick; they did not meet with Crawford, nor work him out, before the draft.

"I'm so happy to be their second pick," Crawford said, his excitement still bubbling. "It's crazy!"

Did Jones mention anything to him about his being a Canadian?

"Yeah, he made fun of me a bit, in a way," Crawford said. "I forget what he said."

Either on Saturday or Sunday morning, Crawford will fly to Dallas to meet Jones, team management, the coaches and the Dallas press.

Fourteen NFL teams had met with Crawford since February, including the Patriots (twice), Colts and Lions.

At Boise State in 2010, Crawford made an immediate impact. As a non-starting but often-rotated-in defensive end, Crawford recorded 13.5 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks.

Last fall as a senior, Crawford started and was often unblockable. He rang up another 13.5 TFLs, forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles (racing one back for a touchdown) and had 6.5 quarterback sacks. He was an all-conference defender in the Mountain West.

So Crawford, 22, now goes from being a Bronco to a Cowboy.

Giddyup.


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