NFL Mock Draft 2014: SB Nation Has The Cowboys Hitting The Defensive Line Hard

Kevin C. Cox

With free agency unlikely to produce substantial headlines for the Cowboys anytime soon, it's time to re-focus on the NFL draft and SB Nation does just that as they ring in the new week with a brand new, two-round mock that has the Cowboys bolstering their defensive line.

For their last few mock drafts, Dan Kadar and Matthew Fairburn have been pretty much alternating defensive lineman for the Cowboys. Today, Kadar and Fairburn offer up a collaborative mock draft that once again has the Cowboys going hard after defensive linemen.

In their mock draft scenario, Anthony Barr comes off the board at No. 11 for the Titans, and Aaron Donald goes to Chicago three spots later. In their place, Kadar/Fairburn pick Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy for the Cowboys.

DeMarcus Ware is gone and Anthony Spencer hasn't been brought back yet. That leaves the Cowboys to rely on George Selvie, who finally had a breakout year in 2013, and Tyrone Crawford, who was injured all of last season. Even if Crawford comes back fine and Selvie plays well, having a third pass rusher would boost the defense. Ealy is a versatile player, able to play traditional end, move inside and he's athletic enough to be a linebacker.

Try as I can, I can't muster a lot of enthusiasm for this pick. Perhaps I just haven't been exposed to enough Ealy hype; perhaps I'm simply wary of prospects whose college production doesn't match their supposed athleticism; maybe I like my edge rushers to be a little faster than 4.92 (though he reportedly ran a 4.57 at his pro day, which in turn raises more questions than it answers); maybe - and this is a distinct possibility - I simply have no idea what I'm talking about.

But I'll tell you one thing: I'm much more excited about the pick in the second round than the pick in the first, and that's usually not a good thing. Having taken an edge rusher with the first pick, Kadar/Fairburn then address the interior defensive line in the second round and select DT Dominque Easley out of Florida for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys should be drafting multiple defensive linemen on the first two days of the draft. Dominique Easley won't be ready for Week 1 because of his knee injury, but he has the potential to be the best defensive player in this draft not named Clowney if he gets healthy.

With the emphasis the Cowboys have placed recently on player health, I doubt they would invest another high pick in another injured player. But if you've watched tape youtube clips of Easley, you've got to be excited about getting a player of his caliber to Dallas. But do you really want a defensive line with a third-year guy coming off Achilles surgery (Crawford), a free agent coming off ACL reconstruction (Melton), and a rookie who's had ACL tears in both knees (Easley)?

Then again, if you add Sean Lee (ACL), Bruce Carter (ACL), Barry Church (Achilles) and possibly Anthony Spencer (microfracture surgery) to the mix, you've got to believe that the Cowboys have used up their quota of knee injuries for the foreseeable future.

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