The latest mock drafts from ESPN analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have the Dallas Cowboys using their pick at #16 on defense. And they both have settled on the same player - Calvin Pryor, safety out of Louisville.
Analysis: Depending on how you feel about the prospects of J.J. Wilcox, you could argue the Cowboys need not just one safety, but two. I know defensive line is a pretty big need here for Dallas, but it's a big leap to target either defensive tackle or an edge-rusher here. I actually think the Cowboys could consider moving down if they run into a scenario like this, but I'm not projecting trades, and Pryor, a likely immediate starter at a position of need, makes plenty of sense here.
In this draft, Anthony Barr doesn't get picked until #25 to the Chargers. That's one spot behind Kony Ealy who goes #24 to the Bengals. (Aaron Donald went early to the Giants). I'm not sure why Kiper (and McShay for that matter) doesn't like Anthony Barr. Admittedly, his draft stock does seem to have cooled over the past month, but personally I'd be happy to take him at #16.
Also, Kiper's casual dismissal of the play of Barry Church makes me wonder if he actually watches any Cowboys games. For my money, Church is a good safety when he plays closer to the line.
Analysis: Defensive end, defensive tackle and safety are all need positions for the Cowboys, and in this scenario, they get a potential starter opposite leading tackler Barry Church in the secondary. Pryor is an intimidating presence in the middle of the field who does his best work in the box but is capable of holding up in deep-half zone and deep-third coverage. He sets the tone with his relentless playing style and willingness to deliver the knockout hit.
In this scenario, the Cowboys pass on Zack Martin (#17 to the Ravens), Anthony Barr (#25 to the Chargers) and Kony Ealy (#31 to the Broncos). Again, Barr is my pick if Donald is gone (which he was, to the Bears).
I think Calvin Pryor is an okay choice, but his skill-set seems to resemble more of the way Church plays instead of a true centerfielder. Also, the Cowboys did not bring in Pryor or HaHa Clinton-Dix for official visits. They did bring in Jimmie Ward and Lamarcus Joyner, second-round guys. Official visits are not the ultimate answer, but they do indicate the way the Cowboys might be thinking.
In other words, I just don't see this pick happening.