The NFL draft is finally here, after what has been an exciting offseason and free agency period. With that said, many teams like the Dallas Cowboys shifted their focus on the wave of new talent coming into the league. Thus, here are my projections for the Dallas Cowboys 2014 draft.
Round 1 (16th overall) S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Drafting a safety with the Cowboys first selection may not be the pick many fans expect, but would be a very smart decision in reality. Pryor is everything you look for when drafting a starting safety: good instincts and even better closing speed. Also important is his physical presence which by itself would hopefully enable him to get inside the head of offensive weapons.
Round 2 (47TH overall) DT Dominique Easley, Florida
Another pressing need for the Cowboys is to add depth to the defensive line. A crucial step in accomplishing this would be to draft Easley.
One of his greatest attributes is his explosiveness off of the ball, and coming from the SEC, he was able to make a significant impact on what is arguably the best conference in the country. This would be very similar to when the Cowboys drafted Sean Lee, because similar to Lee, Easley has the talent to be considered a late first round selection but injury concerns will make him available in the second. Easley’s acquisition would not only serve as a short-term solution, but would also go a long way to making the Cowboys defensive front a relevant factor for many years.
Round 3 (78th overall), DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
It should come as no shock that in my projections I have the Dallas Cowboys taking 3 defensive players first. The Cowboys’ defense was historically bad in nearly every major statistical category. That being said, Jeffcoat would be a strong acquisition in the 3rd round.
Jeffcoat has the ability to fight through blocks, and is able to work well off of contact. Also he has the versatility to be used as a spy linebacker, which should give him an advantage in making the transition into an NFL defensive scheme.
Round 4 (119th overall) WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson
For the first offensive selection of the 2014 draft I have the Cowboys selecting Martavis Bryant, WR from Clemson. Bryant would be a great acquisition to the Cowboys receiving corps and would help provide them depth at a crucial position. Bryant has a wide skill set and is flexible, making spectacular catches seem routine. Also significant is that he was able to thrive as a number two receiver behind Sammy Watkins.
Round 5 (158th overall) QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
In the 5th round we have what I feel may be the most controversial projection in my draft. The days of Tony Romo leading the Cowboys are numbered. As such, I doubt that anyone can truly feel optimistic with the current options Dallas has available. That being said, Aaron Murray would be a smart choice to be the heir to Tony Romo. Murray has many skills that should help him translate into the NFL
Round 7 (229th overall) WR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma
At this point in the draft the Cowboys should mainly be trying to add depth to certain areas or simply take the best player according to their draft board. Saunders is a quick receiver that is able to fire off the ball quickly. He is a natural playmaker and has the ability to create a short field for the offensive if utilized in the return game.
Round 7 (231st overall) DE Cassius Marsh, UCLA
One of the Cowboys’ weakest areas in the 2014 season was the lack of depth in the defensive line. During the course of NFL season many injuries are going to occur and most times the most successful organizations are the teams that have the ability to withstand these injuries. Marsh would not only serve as a depth player for the defensive line but could also be a key contributor in certain defensive situations.
Round 7 (238TH overall) OT Justin Britt, Missouri
Similar to drafting a QB of the future, the Cowboys need to find a replacement for Doug Free. While Free improved as the season progressed it is my belief that a new solution may be needed. Britt has the potential to be a great draft selection, because he has the prototypical size of an NFL tackle. Also, he has the versatility to be used as both a tackle or guard- a skill set that will be extremely valuable.
Round 7 (248th overall) OLB Denicos Allen, Michigan State
Allen would be a strong selection here because he has many strengths that would be welcome addition to the Cowboys. He was able to diagnose plays early and was able to read the QB’s eyes effectively to help create turnovers. He would be a wise selection to help in Nickel defense or other similar situations.
Round 7 (251ST overall) DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida
Lynch has the potential to be a real gem in this year’s draft. He has pure athletic ability to explode off the football that few can rival. While at Notre Dame, he at times looked unstoppable. That said, the Cowboys are trying to add defensive depth and Lynch could be smart decision here.
Round 7 (254th overall) TE Jordan Najvar, Baylor
For the final selection in the 2014 NFL draft I have the Cowboys selecting Jordan Najvar. I am personally of the belief that the Cowboys are relatively stable at the TE position but also need to develop young talent so they can continue to gain production out of their TE after Jason Witten retires.
After drafting Gavin Escobar, who has seen limited success in his first season there is a tons of question marks at the TE position. Knowing that Najvar is an excellent fit. He has more blocking capacity than Escobar but isn’t lacking in his ability to catch passes. By drafting him now it would enable him to study under Witten while acclimating himself into the NFL.
These are my projections on how I see the Cowboys making their selections based on the notion of no trading for picks. While I do not anticipate the Cowboys selecting every single player in my mock, I would simply hope that they take the time to consider some of the options I have laid out here. Hopefully the Cowboys will think about the future of the team and draft the best players available to them. They have made strides regarding personal decisions but a bad draft would undo all of the gains they have made.