IRVING, Texas (AP) — After moving down, the Dallas Cowboys finally addressed one of their needs on the third day of the NFL draft.
The Cowboys selected defensive back-kick returner Akwasi Owusu-Ansah from NCAA Division II Indiana-Pennsylvania with the 126th overall pick Saturday, after sliding down seven spots in a fourth-round swap with Miami that gave them an extra pick in the sixth round.
Needing to add depth after releasing five-time Pro Bowl tackle Flozell Adams and safety Ken Hamlin earlier this month, the Cowboys used their only two picks the first two days on wide receiver Dez Bryant and linebacker Sean Lee.
Owusu-Ansah saw time at cornerback and free safety at IUP, where he had nine returns for touchdowns in his career (four punts, three kickoffs, one interception, one fumble). The Cowboys plan to use the 6-foot, 207-pound Owusu-Ansah as a safety.
"We feel like that is the position of the future for him," secondary coach Dave Campo said.
"I feel real comfortable. Most of the plays I made as college were at safety," Owusu-Ansah said. "They told me to get ready to compete and it is going to be a grind."
Hampered by a dislocated left shoulder last season, Owusu-Ansah had two interceptions a year after leading Division II with eight picks as a junior in 2008. He still returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns.
Owusu-Ansah had shoulder surgery last month and is expected to be fully recovered in time for the start of training camp in late July. He will still be part of the team's rookie minicamp next week — "It will be a more mental minicamp for me," he said.
The Cowboys had three more picks remaining Saturday. They had two sixth-round picks, the 179th overall from Miami and 196th, and the 234th overall selection in the seventh round.
Owusu-Ansah, whose parents are from Ghana, was born in Gainesville, Fla., and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He didn't play organized football until eighth grade, then was a high school running back who didn't get any Division I scholarship offers, though he is still a big Ohio State fan.
Even after cutting Adams and Hamlin and creating obvious needs, owner Jerry Jones insisted that the Cowboys wouldn't be "hostage to any position in this draft."
And he backed that up by trading up to get Bryant, who also returns kicks, and Lee.
With the addition of Bryant, the Cowboys have given receivers Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd permission to seek trades. Crayton had 37 catches for 622 yards and five touchdowns last season and was also the team's primary punt returner, averaging 12.1 yards per return with two TDs.
Fourth-year player Doug Free is expected to replace Adams at left tackle, though his seven starts at the end of last season came at right tackle for injured Marc Colombo.
Jones still talked about the need to add depth at offensive line for now and the future.
Offensive tackle Robert Brewster was a third-round pick last April who didn't get to play for the Cowboys last season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle.
Campo reiterated the plans for Alan Ball, a third-year player who started three games Hamlin missed while injured, to be a factor in replacing him. The Cowboys also have veteran safety Gerald Sensabaugh, a restricted free agent Jones has said he wants to sign to a long-term contract.