Best player available or position of need? That's the debate that always comes up around the NFL draft. NFL executives like to say they use the best player available strategy, but it doesn't always work that way. And when it comes to mock drafts, it never works that way. Somehow teams in mock drafts invariably get picks that satisfy positions of need. For example, take the latest SB Nation mock draft.
If you listed the Cowboys top needs in the 2014 NFL draft, certainly defensive lineman and safety would be prime contenders. It just so happens that in this two-round mock exercise, that's exactly what the Cowboys get.
16. Dallas Cowboys - Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Kony Ealy's impressive showing at his pro day should put to rest any concerns about his athleticism. He improved his 40-yard dash considerably and looked comfortable moving around in linebacker drills. That versatility will get him drafted in the top 20 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Cowboys appear to be a good fit after parting ways with DeMarcus Ware this offseason. Ealy won't be able to fill those shoes right away, but an underrated aspect of Ealy as a prospect is how much room he still has to grow as a pass rusher. Ealy could be the first step toward building a defense that Jerry Jones doesn't have to be ashamed of.
Kony Ealy is a player that seems to be rising back up draft boards after a period where he was either falling or treading water. Much of that concern was about his athleticism that came from his performance at the combine. At his pro day, he performed much better and that has gotten him back int he good graces of mock drafters everywhere. He plays a position that the Cowboys are very thin at, and one of the most important positions on a defense. I think you'll start seeing this prediction more and more as the draft draws closer.
47. Dallas Cowboys - Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Deone Bucannon has flown under the radar a bit this season, but he's not far off from Calvin Pryor in this safety class. He is currently ranked as our No. 49 player in this class, so he presents a nice value pick for the Cowboys, who definitely need to upgrade their secondary.
Safety is a position that fans and internet experts think the Cowboys will be interested in pursuing, but do the Cowboys think that way? Do they see J.J. Wilcox as the starter beside Barry Church? There are a lot of unknowns here, including what Dallas thinks of Jeff Heath and Matt Johnson. I think most of the fanbase would be happy to have a safety picked high up in the draft based on the problems Dallas had in their secondary last year.
For a rundown of the full mock draft, check out the video below.