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Cowboys 2012 NFL Draft: Who Are The Cowboys' Top Three First-Round Targets?

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The Dallas Cowboys have the fourteenth pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Over the last weeks and months we've reviewed or featured just about every mock draft out there, and one common theme has emerged again and again from all those mock drafts:

There is no consensus pick for the Cowboys this year. Depending on who you ask, the Cowboys are projected to take any of several different players including OL, DT, DE, OLB, ILB, CB or S with their first pick.

So today, I'm asking my fellow BTB writers for their assessment: What are their top three picks, in order of preference, for the Cowboy at No. 14?

Here are the top three picks for each BTB writer:


Top Three
1. Quinton Coples, DE
2. Fletcher Cox, DE
3. Mark Barron, S

Right at the start of the Combine, Jerry Jones announced that the Cowboys' biggest defensive need is an improved pass rush. "For defense, I'm into the pressure for us right now, above the corner, even if we franchise Spencer," Jones said.

For too long, the Cowboys have relied on their OLBs to provide the pass rush. It's time to bring in a pressure five, and I will take a pass rushing five-technique over a guard any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Pressure fives are so hard to come by you cannot pass them up if you get the opportunity. Coples and Cox are the standout players for this position and the Cowboys cannot afford to leave them on the board if they are available. Remember how we were collectively dreaming of Calais Campbell a few weeks ago as a possible free agent target for the Cowboys? That’s who Coples and Cox could be.

If they are both gone, I get the Alabama team captain Mark Barron to be my center fielder and finally have a ball-hawking safety to improve the secondary, the weakest part of my team.

KD Drummond

Top Three
1. Quinton Coples, DE
(trade up, please Jerry)
2. Stephon Gilmore, CB
3. Mark Barron, S

OCC stole my #1, but I knew he would. It's the freakin' algorithms, unfair advantage ... I'd trade as high as #7 to get Coples.

As I've said several times, picking at #14 in this year's draft is no man's land. For the Cowboys to truly realize value coming out of this draft, they have to engineer a trade in one direction or another. Either move up and grab someone (in particular) or move down into the range where the player is a respectable pick.

I don't think this team needs more offense in the 1st, and certainly not a guard in a deep guard class. Plus, I don't agree with picking an ILB when you've just invested two consecutive second rounders there (Dan Connor is not part of the discussion whatsoever people). So that leaves you with trade up, trade down, or settle. I hate settling, plus the NFL is a crazy league right now. You never know what might happen in the picks before 14.

Coty Saxman

Top Three
1. Morris Claiborne, CB
2. Luke Kuechly, ILB
3. David DeCastro, OG

Not that I'm qualified for this...but I'm taking the top three at their respective positions.

There are no question marks about these guys, and all three are likely to have an immediate impact on the team that drafts them


Top Three
1. Fletcher Cox, DE
2. Michael Brockers, DT
3. Stephon Gilmore, CB

I think OCC is pretty spot on, but to offer something different, I'll offer the three names above.

Archie Barberio

Top Three
1. David DeCastro, OG
2. Melvin Ingram, OLB
3. Mark Barron, S

Ingram and DeCastro have been my target for a while now. Barron is really growing on me, plus we need a good S and we can never find one. Janoris Jenkins is still on my short list off of talent alone.

Dave Halprin

Top Three
1. David DeCastro, OG
2. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
3. Melvin Ingram, OLB

There are players I like better, but I'm sticking with players who I think have a realistic shot at being around at pick #14. Sure, Jerry said they won't likely draft a guard, but I still like DeCastro, he fills a need and I think with him you got a guy who will start for Dallas for the next decade. He's a great prospect at a position that we've struggled with for a while.

Following that, Kirkpatrick has the man-to-man skills I like in a corner, has good size, and gives the Cowboys another corner or a possible safety, depending on how he develops. With Mike Jenkins in his last year of a contract, Kirkpatrick give the Cowboys options. And lastly, if all else fails, give me an OLB in a 3-4 defense who can cause disruption. Ingram fits the bill.

Tom Ryle

Top Three
1. David DeCastro, OG
2. Mark Barron, S
3. Fletcher Cox, DE

These are my top three based mainly on my best guess of who might realistically be there.

Dre Kirkpatrick was a real close 4.

So there you have it folks. Not even the BTB staff have a clear cut favorite for the #14 pick. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, because it means the Cowboys will have a lot of options. I'll let Archie have the last word:

Fletcher Cox would be a good pick, I am just not a huge fan of his. I don't see how Coples falls to us, but that would be amazing too.

Regardless, the Cowboys are going to get a great player at 14. You can't say that every year, so it is a nice feeling knowing that your team has a good opportunity to land a great player in the draft. There are so many options for the Cowboys, I feel very optimistic entering this draft, trusting that the Cowboys have done their homework and will take a great player.

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