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2014 Pre-Free Agency Mock Draft Tracker: Two-Man Race For Cowboys' Top Pick?

This may change when the doors to free agency open on Tuesday next week, but for now the consensus has narrowed down the Cowboys likely first round picks in the 2014 draft to two defensive tackles.

Timmy Jernigan has to duck to fit into this picture.
Timmy Jernigan has to duck to fit into this picture.
Joe Robbins

In today's mock draft roundup, we look at 13 of the latest mocks published over the last few days, including mocks from Drafttek, Foxsports,, ESPN, CBSSports and many others. 11 of those mocks have either Aaron Donald or Timmy Jernigan as the Cowboys' top pick. All that mock draft goodness is summarized below.

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Football's Future, (Davis), Mar 6 Comment: "Short, light, and short arms be damned, Donald cannot be blocked. His quickness and speed is special for a defensive tackle, and the tenacity he plays with allows him to constantly make plays. The Cowboys need an interior presence for their defense to be effective, and Donald is exactly what they are searching for."
NE Patriots Draft (Sluis), Mar 5
Comment: "The Cowboys will miss out on the postseason yet again, but there are patches of talent throughout the roster. One place they could improve upon is any position on the defense besides DeMarcus Ware. Aaron Donald ran a ridiculous 4.68 at 285 pounds and that explosive ability is confirmed on tape." (Brooks),
Mar 4
Comment: "Rod Marinelli will energize the Cowboys' defense with his forceful personality, but he needs a disruptive three-technique in place to make the Tampa 2 scheme work. Donald is a beast at the point of attack, with a non-stop motor and explosive first-step quickness." (Smith),
Mar 4
Comment: "They could roll the dice on Henry Melton coming off an ACL injury with a big-money offer in free agency, but drafting Donald makes a lot more sense."
CBSSports (Kirwan),
Mar 4
Comment: "The Cowboys will be very lucky if Donald lasts until their spot. Donald was made to play in Rod Marinelli's defense. He reminds me of John Randle on the field.", Mar 3 Comment: "Aaron Donald is a scheme specific 4-3 under-tackle who explodes off the ball and is a slippery leverage player. Long arms to bat down passes. Works hard every play from snap to whistle. Always puts in a good day’s work. Good flexibility to dip and bend. Won the defensive player of the year sweepstakes collecting the Bednarik, Lombardi, Outland Trophy, and Nagurski Awards. Was unanimous All-America plus ACC Defensive Player of the Year."
LA Times (Farmer), Mar 2 Comment: "The Cowboys were tied for 25th with 34 sacks last season. They need to generate a pass rush, and Donald is capable of causing havoc in an opposing backfield."
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State,
Mar 6
Comment: "Cowboy Nation has fallen in love with Aaron Donald, who dominated the college football defensive landscape, earning the Outland Trophy, Lombardi, Nagurski, and Bednarik Awards in 2013. He is quick but small (6'1", 285), with the potential to be overpowered by NFL guards. Timmy Jernigan is quick as well, but packs a solid 300 lb. punch through his 6'3" frame . . . and is the #1 DT43 prospect on the Drafttek Big Board. A National Championship Team always has a defensive leader , and Jernigan has a highlight reel of leading by example! Just in case you may have forgotten, Jason Hatcher is an UFA, taking his 11 sacks, 7 QB hits, and 33 QB hurries from 2013 with him . . . Dallas must address DL deficiencies in this draft!"
ESPN (McShay), Mar 6 Comment: "Donald is a great fit here if he drops, but Jernigan brings a lot of value as a 3-technique defensive tackle in this system as well. He is very strong and quick versus the run, and I love his motor and awareness -- he just isn't as fast or smooth as Donald. The Cowboys need help all along their defensive line and in their secondary, and Jernigan could come in and make an impact."
CBSSports (Prisco),
Mar 5
Comment: "I will stay with Jernigan to the Cowboys. It just makes too much sense."
Draftseason (Falk),
Mar 4
Comment: "The Cowboys greatest needs are along the defensive line which means Jerry Jones will go a completely different route. But Jernigan is the real deal, he has a deadly combo of size and speed and can muscle his way into the backfield on a routine basis."
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Yahoo Sports (King), Mar 5 Comment: "In a surprise, the Cowboys go Nix here instead of safety. Rod Marinelli, who was promoted to defensive coordinator, will be banging on the table to get the big defensive tackle. Nix will instantly make the guys behind him better and force teams to alter how they currently scheme the Cowboys' front. Light on his feet and exceptionally quick for someone his size, Nix is scheme versatile and would fit perfectly in Dallas."
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (Farrar), Mar 6 Comment: "Like most Nick Saban-trained defenders, Clinton-Dix will get too aggressive at times and bite on play fakes, and his backpedal is nothing to write home about. But those issues can be cleared up in time, and the Cowboys desperately need an enforcer in their secondary who can contend with an NFC East that has become more and more about the aerial game in recent years."

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