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Cowboys don't regret passing on J.J. Watt in '11 draft

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The Dallas Cowboys had the chance to draft J.J. Watt and passed. They don't regret it.

Watt was available when the Cowboys went on the clock with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Dallas did its due diligence on Watt but settled on left tackle Tyron Smith. Watt went to the Houston Texans two picks later.

Watt has become pro football's most dominant defensive player, but this wasn't exactly a Greg Oden-over-Kevin Durant miscalculation in Big D. Smith is a premier left tackle who's started all but one game in his career. The Cowboys renewed their committment to Smith this summer with an eight-year, $98 million extension.

"Yeah, that's a long time ago. We liked him a lot," Garrett said of Watt, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. "We did spend a lot of time investigating him, getting to know him. That same year we took Tyron Smith so we feel really good about that decision. All those decisions we made very consciously and very deliberately and certainly that first pick was critical for us.

"We felt like we needed to get some cornerstone players, and Tyron Smith was coming out that year, and we felt like he can be a left tackle and be a cornerstone player for us," he added. "We felt he had all the traits to be a great, great player for a long time at a really important position, and he's certainly off to a good start."

The two stars will share a field on Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Both teams will be happy with what they have.

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