2014 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock's Post-Combine Top 5 Players Per Position

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Mayock released an updated, post-Combine version of his top five players per position. We look at the top front seven prospects as we review how Mayock's rankings have changed since his pre-Combine version from mid-February.

Yesterday, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock released an updated version of his top five players per position which he had published prior to the Combine. You can find the full rankings here, but we'll focus only on the front seven positions any changes to the rankings since Mayock's initial version from mid February.

Defensive Tackles

After Aaron Donald's stellar Combine performance, it's no surprise to see him rocket to the top of the defensive tackle ranking. For Cowboys fans who've had an eye on Donald since long before the Combine, this is a slightly worrying development: If teams also see Donald as the top DT in the draft, it's unlikely he'll last all the way to the Cowboys' 16th pick.

Rank Previous Ranking (2/17)
Updated Rank (3/4)
Change
1 Louis Nix III, Notre Dame Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
2 Timmy Jernigan, Florida State Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
3 Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
4 Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
5
Dominique Easley, Florida Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina

In other developments, if you were harboring secret thoughts of drafting Kelcy Quarles for the Cowboys in the second round, now is a good time to think about other second-round targets. Mayock doesn't explain how big the gaps between the individual players on these lists are, or which round Mayock projects them for. But the rankings do give us a better feeling for the overall positional rankings.

Defensive Ends

It remains to be seen what the Cowboys want to do with Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware, but chances are the Cowboys will use this draft to start finding replacements for one or both players. That makes finding an effective edge rusher an obvious position to focus on as a Cowboys fan.

Rank Previous Ranking (2/17)
Updated Rank (3/4)
Change
1 Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2 Kony Ealy, Missouri Kony Ealy, Missouri
3 Dee Ford, Auburn Dee Ford, Auburn
4 Scott Crichton, Oregon State Scott Crichton, Oregon State
5 Trent Murphy, Stanford Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

There's not a lot of change in Mayock's DE rankings. Trent Murphy drops out of the top five and is replaced by Stephon Tuitt.

Linebackers

After the Combine it's hard to imagine the Cowboys would invest a first-round pick on either of the top safeties, and they already have enough second-day safety types on the roster, so the focus for the Cowboys over the last week may have shifted more towards linebackers, of whom there seem to be quite a few promising prospects in this year's draft class.

Mayock doesn't see any changes to his original ranking, but we're including them anyway, just to familiarize ourselves with the ranking and the names.

Rank Linebacker Ranking, (2/17 & 3/4)
1 Khalil Mack, Buffalo
2 C.J. Mosley, Alabama
3 Anthony Barr, UCLA
4 Chris Borland, Wisconsin
5
Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

Star_medium

Obviously, a lot can happen between now and draft day, but if Mayock's rankings are accurate, we'll probably have to assume the top two guys at each position could be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. That means no Aaron Donald in 2014, and the Cowboys will would likely have the option of choosing between Nix, Hageman and Quarles at defensive tackle, Ford, Crichton or Tuitt at defensive end, while Barr, Borland and Shazier would be the linebackers left.

If those nine guys were the players left on the board for the Cowboys on the first day of the draft, who'd be your pick? Choose your favorite option in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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