Daniel Jeremiah takes a shot at breaking down the Cowboys biggest needs on draft day over at NFL.com. By and large, it's a pretty good piece, hitting on some of the main themes we've been discussing for a while. But then he throws us a curveball at the end of the article. Let's take a look.
Out of the gate, Jeremiah lists safety. I don't think that's the Cowboys number one need, but it's also not out of the realm of possibility. Right now, only Barry Church is a sure thing at safety and he's playing the more traditional strong safety role close to the line. The Cowboys could use a centerfielder deep, and there's no assurances J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath or Matt Johnson are that guy.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama) and Calvin Pryor (Louisville). Pryor would bring a more physical presence to the back end of Dallas' defense, but Clinton-Dix fits better in coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme. Dezmen Southward from Wisconsin would be an interesting mid-round option if the Cowboys go in a different direction at No. 16 overall. The defender created some buzz in scouting circles at his pro day, posting a sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash and a 42-inch vertical. He's still raw, but he's got a lot of tools to work with.
Next up is defensive end. Now we're talking, this is a position that could definitely use a boost. He likes Anthony Barr, as do a lot of people, but Barr's stock is rising and lasting until #16 just might not be in the cards.
Although many teams view Barr -- who began his UCLA career on offense -- as a 3-4 outside linebacker, he could play end in Marinelli's defense. The 6-foot-5 defender has outstanding burst and shows great balance when bending the edge on speed rushes. If the Cowboys wait until Round 2 to nab a rusher, they could take Oregon State's Scott Crichton. He doesn't have Barr's athleticism, but he has strong hands and a fanatical motor.
Offensive Guard, Offensive Tackle
After that, Jeremiah turns to the offensive line, either a guard or a tackle. He suggests waiting until later to draft a guard, but goes with another popular tackle choice in the first round.
I expect the Cowboys to wait until the later rounds to land an interior lineman. Furman's Dakota Dozier -- who's expected to switch from tackle to guard at the next level -- is a projected fourth- or fifth-rounder who could fit nicely in Dallas. The 6-foot-4 lineman had a great week of practice ahead of the East-West Shrine Game. Despite coming from a small program, he should be able to contribute very early in his NFL career.
Notre Dame's Zack Martin should be available. The 6-foot-4, 308-pounder has the versatility to slide in at guard if the Cowboys choose to keep [Doug] Free the starter this season.
Okay, none of that is crazy, I could see the Cowboys doing some of that. But here's where it gets weird. After listing those four spots as positions of need, he supplies his choice for the #16 pick (along with other NFL.com writers). And the curious thing is he picks a player who isn't a safety, defensive end, offensive guard or offensive tackle. He picks Aaron Donald.
Guess he truly does believe in BPA instead of need.