The Dallas Cowboys defense got torched all last season so to no one’s surprise the Cowboys focused on improving that 32nd-ranked defense in the draft.
Their first pick was an offensive pick which I initially disagreed with. I thought the Cowboys should have drafted one of the top two safeties available- either Calvin Pryor or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I then sat down and thought about the drafting of Notre Dame OT Zach Martin and I realized it was a smart decision
1st Round: Zach Martin
Notre Dame offensive tackle Zach Martin was the safest and probably the smartest pick for the Cowboys at number 16. He was the best player available at the time. Drafted as an experienced senior, Martin he started the most games in school history with 52.
He’s big, athletic, and versatile. Martin can play any position on the line. The Cowboys want to solidify the offensive line as a dominant one, and this is the step the right direction. The Cowboys now have three young, 1st-round offensive lineman with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Martin. The Cowboys need to keep Tony Romo upright and this pick is an obvious sign of confidence in Romo. I’m more interested in what Martin can do to help DeMarco Murray and the running game however.
Grade : A-
2nd Round: DeMarcus Lawrence
The Cowboys moved up in the 2nd round to the 34th pick after a trade with Washington. They selected DeMarcus Lawrence, a defensive end from Boise State.
I loved the pick but I don’t quite know about trading a second and third round pick when drafting for a safety was still possible.
The intangibles for Lawrence are there. He has a supreme combination of freakish size and athletic ability. He earned 20 sacks over his past 2 seasons with Boise State. He’s long with lots of mass on his frame, he also makes big plays stopping the run behind scrimmage. He’s a much-needed addition to a defensive line that clearly needed it after free agency. Lawrence gets turnovers, forcing many fumbles in his college career. He has a pro size body at the defensive end position. I see him being a week one starter his rookie season. My only second guessing about Lawrence is his off field endevors. He’s been suspended a few times at Boise State.
Grade : A
4th Round: Anthony Hitchens
With the 119th pick in the fourth round the Cowboys selected outside linbacker from Iowa, Anthony Hitchens. Hitchens is an undersized linebacker at 6 feet and 240 pounds. Where he lacks in size, he makes up for in aggressiveness.
He’s solid tackler and is durable despite his size. He’s only missed one game in his college career. He has decent speed for his position and he can make plays outside with his range. The Cowboys might be looking to go in another direction at outside linebacker with Bruce Carter. For now I can see Hitchens as a backup with potential to grow.
Grade : C
5th Round: Devin Street
Wide Receiver Devin Street was selected by the Cowboys with the 146th pick. He’s a 6’4 200 pound player from Pittsburgh. Street will add depth to an average receiving core that loss Miles Austin. He’s tall and lanky with the ability to go get the ball at its highest peak. He’s not as explosive as many of the wide receivers in this draft are, but he has the potential to be good red zone option for Tony Romo.
Grade : C
7th Round : Ben Gardner
Defensive end Ben Gardner from Stanford was sidelined by injury October. He was one of the captains on defense for the Cardinal. He has decent size with his 6’4 262 pound frame. The pick once again adds depth to a defensive line that needs it much. He can be a possible diamond in the rough for defensive line guru Rod Marinelli
7th Round : Will Smith
Will Smith is an outside linebacker from Texas Tech who the Cowboys selected in the seventh round. I like the selection because the Cowboys need as any linebackers as possible because they’ve been pretty banged up at that position of late. He was known to be a tackling machine at Texas Tech. Smith will also help on special teams.
Grade : C+
7th Round : Ahmad Dixon
Ahmad Dixon safety form Baylor is a physical defensive back. He’s very aggressive and might be the hardest hitting safety in the draft. He has decent speed, he ran a 4.56 in the 40 yard dash. Even he’s a late draft pick he will add something to a safety group that needs it. The race to compete for the other starting safety in Dallas is wide open, and Dixon can compete for that this season.
7th Round: Ken Bishop
Ken Bishop defensive tackle from Northern Illinois is 6-feet, 300 pounds. The other defensive tackle position is also kind of open. Bishop is known to take on multiple offensive lineman on plays. He can be another project Rod Marinelli can groom.
7th Round: Terrance Mitchell
Terrance Mitchell cornernback from Oregon was the last draft pick for the Cowboys. He has decent size at the corner position at 5’11. He’s a gambling corner that got 5 interceptions last season. He’s not that fast as he ran a 4.63 at his 40. He will have to compete to make the team because the corner position is kind of packed in Dallas.
The Cowboys got two starters in this draft with Zach Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence. The other players besides David Street are project players with potential. That’s why I give the Cowboys can overall grade of B.
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