Free agency is barely a week old, but the impact of free agency is being felt on every draft board and every mock draft around the country as teams filled needs or found new holes on their rosters.
The Cowboys' free agency moves of the last week have also resulted in quite a bit of reshuffling of mock drafts. Previous consensus favorite cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is nowhere to be found in today's roundup of the latest mock drafts.
In fact, the ten mock drafts we look at today propose nine different prospects for the Cowboys, a sign that there is no clear consensus on who the Cowboys will end up picking in the draft next month.
After the break, Ryan van Bibber from our own SBNation mothership, Dan Shonka from Ourlads, Bucky Brooks from NFL.com, Rob Rang from CBSSports, our friends from Drafttek and other, more obscure draftniks weigh in on which player they think the Cowboys will pick with the 14th pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
Ryan van Bibber, SBNation, 3/19/12: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
Salary cap punishment or not, Jerry Jones filled his hat with free agents, most notably Brandon Carr. They also used the franchise tag to keep Anthony Spencer. Adding another pass rusher would only help the defense stay competitive in the NFC East.
The Phinsider.com, 3/19/2012: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
The Cowboys have the luxury of filling a number of positions after a solid week of free agency when they shored up a number of holes, especially on the defense. While Janoris Jenkins is still a possibility even after signing Brandon Carr, they could go with Ingram to help with their pass rush. While the Cowboys placed a franchise tender on OLB Anthony Spencer, it was likely done more because of a thin OLB market instead of him being a true franchise OLB. A platoon of Ingram/Spencer across from DeMarcus Ware would tremendously help Dallas’ defense.
Drafttek, 3/19/2012: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois
Brandon Carr, Brodney Pool and Dan Connor all signed in F/A, Cowboys pass rush will have to come from DE or OLB (to replace "Almost" Anthony Spencer). The strong side OLB requires size and strength to combat the running game as well as speed to rush the passer. Whitney Mercilus has size (6'4", 261 lbs), strength (27 reps) and speed (4.68 forty, 4.53 shuttle, 7.17 3-cone), not to mention explosion of 69 (bench reps + 9'10" broad + 32" vertical) and production (led nation with 13.5 sacks).
Rob Rang, CBSSports, 3/19/12: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
With tens of millions of dollars dedicated to cornerback (Brandon Carr) and the offensive line (Mackenzy Bernadeau, Nate Livings) the Cowboys have attempted to address two of their biggest areas of concern through veteran free agency. Dallas is currently set at outside linebacker with superstar DeMarcus Ware on one side and Anthony Spencer getting the franchise tag on the other. If no long-term deal with Spencer is made, however, the Cowboys might be wise to fortify their pass-rush depth with Upshaw.
DraftKing, 3/19/12: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Defensive end isn't the same need position in a 3-4 compared with a 4-3, but keeping blockers off of linebackers (along with stopping the run) is critical for a 3-4 attack to function properly. Brockers didn't have a great combine, but he showed plenty of ability as part of LSU's formidable defensive line and recorded 9½ tackles for a loss in 2011.
NEPatriotsdraft.com, 3/19/2012: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia
It is debatable whether Glenn will be a better pro inside or at tackle. What’s not debatable is that he has had the best "post-season" of all offensive linemen in the 2012 NFL Draft. Dallas could really use a versatile lineman to pair with Tyron Smith for the next decade.
FootballDraftAnalysis, 3/19/2012: Fletcher Cox, DT/DE, Mississippi State
The Cowboys signed Carr and Pool for their secondary, so they can address other spots. The 'Boys passed on J.J. Watt last year, but can get their base DE here.
Rattle & Hum, 3/19/2012: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama
The Dallas Cowboys have quietly had one of the better offseasons in the NFL thus far. The Cowboys had big needs at cornerback and linebacker, and they addressed them both by signing CB Brandon Carr and LB Dan Connor, respectively.
Barron is the top safety in this year’s draft class, and adding him along with Brandon Carr could potentially transform this secondary. Mark Barron projects as a strong safety in the NFL, and he is definitely better in run support than in coverage, but that doesn’t mean he is a slouch in coverage. For a strong safety, he has what it takes to hold his own, and he has great instincts, as shown by his 12 career interceptions at Alabama.
Dan Shonka, Ourlads, 3/17/2012: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
DeCastro is the best guard we've evaluated since Steve Hutchinson in 2001. DeCastro is intense, explosive, patient, and has excellent recoverability in pass protection. Jerry Jones brought in Bill Callahan to coordinate the running game offense. DeCastro helps solidify the line in pass protection and in the running game.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com, 3/16/2012: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Jerry Jones would be ecstatic if the board shook out this way with one of the top defensive ends falling out of the top 10. Coples is an ideal five-technique with the size and athleticism to wreak havoc on the interior. Although questions about his motor need to be addressed, Coples could be a star in Rob Ryan's 3-4.
After the free agency haul of the last week, the Cowboys are in a great position to select the best player available when they're on the clock with the 14th pick. Based on the mocks above, it looks like the Cowboys could be spoilt for choice when that time comes.