NFL.com Breaks Down The Cowboys Needs In The Draft

Joe Robbins

The Cowboys need help on defense, but could also be looking at the offensive line come draft day.

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.

Safety

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.

Defensive End

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.

Daniel Jeremiah: Aaron Donald
Bucky Brooks: Kony Ealy
Charles Davis: Calvin Pryor
Matt Smith: Aaron Donald
Chase Goodbread: Calvin Pryor

Guess he truly does believe in BPA instead of need.

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