Dallas Cowboys select Ben Gardner: DE fights back to find his way to Dallas

Stephen Lam

How's the Wisconsin kid feel about the star on his helmet? Pretty good, I guess.

On a cold night in Corvallis, Ben Gardner felt his chest tear apart.

Seven months later, he know knows what it's like to feel like an NFL draft pick.

With the 231st pick in the draft, the Dallas Cowboys snagged Gardner on Sunday, making him the sixth Stanford player picked in the 2014 draft and the third Cardinal player headed to the NFC East.

A torn pectoral muscle ended Gardner's Stanford career back in October, but the former two-star recruit has battled all the way back from the injury to finally get that call from Dallas. Gardner's biggest step on the road to the draft was his impressive pro day, where he logged a 39.5 inch vertical jump at 262 pounds.

Gardner will play 3-technique defensive tackle for the Cowboys' defense, which was the worst in the NFL a season ago, surrendering 6,645 total yards. It's hard to tell exactly what Gardner's chances are of making the team - the Cowboys have added several defensive players this draft already - but I know I wouldn't bet against him.

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