2014 Mock Draft Tracker: A Pass Rusher For The Cowboys?

Is there really a chance Khalil Mack could fall to the Cowboys? - Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Friday is mock draft day, and so we review 14 of the latest, greatest mock drafts published over the last seven days.

Another week is almost over and we have another edition of freshly mocked drafts to peruse. For most of January, the Cowboys mock drafts were literally heavy with defensive tackles, but that changed last week, when Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy walked off as the Cowboys pick in six of the 12 mock drafts we reviewed.

This week, we have 14 mock drafts, and less than half of the picks are defensive tackles, as we're seeing more pass rushers and safeties mocked to the Cowboys. With four picks, DT Aaron Donald is the leading player in our summary but only time will tell whether he's just the flavor of the month or a serious contender for the Cowboys' top pick.

Today's roundup of 14 mocks published over the last seven days offers eight Cowboys prospects for your consideration.

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Football's Future (Davis), Feb 6 Comment: "Donald isn't a great fit for everyone, but he's the ideal fit for the Cowboys. Their defense relies on interior pressure, and there isn't anyone better in this draft in that area. Donald isn't the biggest or strongest, but he's quick, explosive, and relentless."
Walter Football, Feb 5 Comment: "I've made Donald the choice here for Dallas over Louis Nix because he's a much better fit for the defense. The Cowboys will be sticking with the same Tampa-2 again, which means they'll want someone like Donald over Nix."
Optimum Scouting (Galko), Feb 3 Comment: "Aaron Donald is shorter than the ideal NFL defensive tackle. Aaron Donald isn’t as long as the average interior pass-rusher. But Aaron Donald is potentially the best interior defensive lineman in this draft class, and showed during Senior Bowl week that he can consistently beat NFL-level offensive lineman. Donald would do wonders for the Cowboys pass rush, in-turn helping their lackluster secondary play."
USA Today (Davis), Feb 3 Comment: "A defense that ranked last in the NFL in 2013 needs help. Donald might be the perfect addition to a line that's charged with creating pressure without much blitz help in Dallas' scheme."
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
SI.com (Farrar), Feb 6
Comment: " Clinton-Dix is less a pure tackler and more a coverage specialist, but coverage is what this team needs. He reads quarterbacks very well, breaks on the ball with speed and fluidity and can take care of center field."
ESPN (McShay), Feb 6 Comment: "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."
ESPN (Kiper), Feb 6 Comment: "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."
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Bleeding Green Nation,
Feb 7
Comment: "The Cowboys clearly need upgrades at outside linebacker and a jack-of-all trades like Barr could help open up their Tampa 2 defense. He can play either outside linebacker role and take Justin Durant out of the starting lineup."
Salt Lake Tribune,
Feb 5
Comment: "Ware is still productive and would be a tough cut, but he’d save Dallas some serious cash. Barr would fit into Ware’s vacated spot perfectly, with the ability to rush the passer and drop into coverage if needed. He’d be a steal at this spot."
Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
SB Nation (Kadar),
Feb 3
Comment: "Barry Church and Jeff Heath, the Cowboys' two main safeties a year ago, wouldn't be able to beat Pryor out for a starting job right now. Isn't that what the draft is all about? Pryor is a good all-around safety. He's comfortable dropping back into coverage and breaking on the ball. But he's an aggressive run stopper as well and a sure tackler."
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Drafttek.com,
Feb 5
Comment: "Dallas played 20 different players on the defensive line during the 2013 season . . . let that sink in for a minute! Their best defensive lineman in 2013 was Jason Hatcher: playing the 3-technique DT, he accumulated 11 sacks, 7 QB hits and 33 QB hurries, with an overall positive score from Pro Football Focus of 27.3 (best among all Cowboy defenders). Alas, he is an UFA and is 32 years old . . . could it be that his clone drops in Dallas' lap at #17? Mr. Hageman, at 6'5" and 302 lbs., also possesses that "quick twitch" required of a 3-technique DT in the Kiffin/Marinelli scheme. I don't know that Ra'Shede falls this far, but it would satisfy the dreams and aspirations of any and all Cowboy fans!"
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Big Blue View,
Feb 7
Comment: "It's no secret the Cowboys need defensive linemen and lots of them. Demarcus Ware is trending down, Anthony Spencer is likely leaving, and Tyrone Crawford is a big unknown. Ealy is a freak DE that fits perfectly."
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Ourlads.com,
Feb 6
Comment: "The Cowboys need to generate a pass rush opposite Demarcus Ware in the Tampa-2. Mack can widen out and bring it. His versatility as a hand-in-the-dirt pass rusher or a standup outside linebacker helps his stock. He features an explosive and sudden first step when rushing the passer. For the past four years he has been a disruptive playmaker despite teams’ accounting for him on every play. He led the Bulls with 100 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 10 passes defended, and 5 forced fumbles. "
Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame
CSNPhilly (Steuber),
Feb 4
Comment: "The Cowboys' draft philosophy should be a no-brainer -- select the best defensive talent on the board. As a defense, the Cowboys amassed just 34 sacks this past season, and adding Tuitt, a scheme-diverse defensive lineman who has the potential to be a very good pass rusher at the next level, will help their production instantly."
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