Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Mock Drafts: Cowboys Playing It Safe

Kevin C. Cox

Not much variety in picks for the Cowboys from the ESPN duo in their latest mocks.

Mock draft season has the Cowboys locked into two position groups - either defensive line or safety. Defensive line seemed to be the early leader out of the gate with plenty of mocks going for players like Ra'Shede Hgeman, Kony Ealy, Tim Jernigan, Stephon Tuitt or Louis Nix III. Here at BTB, Aaron Donald became a favorite after his dominating performance at the Senior Bowl practices.

Now, we're starting to see a swing toward safety in some mocks. And when safety is mentioned, 90% of the mocks have Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama as the guy. Occasionally Calvin Pryor out of Louisville slips in. I think one of two things is happening. One, people watched the Super Bowl and saw how dominant the Seahawks defense was with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, now safeties are back in vogue. Not to mention that the Seahawks have been the model of defense the Cowboys are striving for, so pairing up a "sure-fire" safety with Barry Church seems like a good idea. Or two, mockers get bored and decide they need to move their picks to someone else.

Anyway, for Dallas this week in ESPN-land, it's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Todd McShay

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
COLLEGE: Alabama AGE: 20 HT: 6-1 WT: 208 POS: S

Analysis: The Cowboys' biggest need area is their pass rush (they ranked last in the NFL in sacks per pass attempt), but it might be reaching at this point to draft a D-lineman like Missouri's Kony Ealy or Pitt's Aaron Donald. But safety is also a clear position of weakness -- particularly in coverage -- and the best one in this class is Clinton-Dix. He doesn't have elite man-to-man coverage skills but has good range in zone and is an aggressive, efficient run supporter. Safety is becoming a more important position in the NFL with the increased usage of spread formations, bigger wide receivers and athletic "F" tight ends.

Mel Kiper

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
COLLEGE: Alabama AGE: 21 HT: 6-1 WT: 208 POS: S

Analysis: Defensive line could also be a pick here, as the team has some age concerns up front, but safety is a major area of need. The Cowboys could use a free safety with range, good instincts and experience who can come in and play right away. Clinton-Dix provides the added bonus of being able to help out closer to the line of scrimmage. While he's great in single high, you can bring him up and he won't shy away from contact.

What do you think? Safety over defensive line?

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