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NFL Draft 2014: Plenty Of Edge Rushers After Round One

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The mid-rounds are stacked with potential fits as edge rushers in the Cowboys defense.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Once the Cowboys cut DeMarcus Ware on the first day of Free Agency, it became popular nationally to mock an edge rusher, usually either UCLA's Anthony Barr, or Missouri's Kony Ealy, to the Cowboys at pick #16 in the first round. It made perfect sense, I mean, the Cowboys just cut the best pass rusher they've ever had, so of course they need to "replace" him with some kid from MIZZOU who has a lot of questions from respected people (Bryan Broaddus included) about whether he has the ability to get to the QB at the NFL level. The idea of Anthony Barr does make some sense, but it is very questionable whether he makes it to the 'Boys at 16. Here at BTB we pride ourselves on looking at the big picture, not getting distracted from the forest by all the foliage around us.

Thus I want to make sure to address the event that the Cowboys don't select an edge rusher - or a defensive lineman, or potentially even a defensive player at all on May 8th as the first round passes - by looking at a group of players that should be very interesting for the Cowboys.

The following is a list of players who have second to the fourth round grades from CBSsports.com and who could help Rod Marinelli's group of Rushmen, as they seek to bring waves of guys after opposing quarterbacks.

Overall Rank Name School Height Weight Grade
44 Scott Crichton Oregon State 6' 3" 273 2
46 Kareem Martin North Carolina 6' 6" 272 2
52 Jeremiah Attaochu Georgia Tech 6' 3" 252 2
56 Demarcus Lawrence Boise State 6' 3" 251 2
65 Trevor Reilly Utah 6' 5" 245 Fringe 2
68 Carl Bradford Arizona State 6' 1" 250 Fringe 2
71 Trent Murphy Stanford 6' 5" 250 Fringe 2
81 Marcus Smith Louisville 6' 3" 251 Fringe 2
90 Jackson Jeffcoat Texas 6' 3" 247 3
107 Will Clarke West Virginia 6' 6" 271 Fringe 3
109 Chris Smith Arkansas 6' 1" 266 Fringe 3
122 James Gayle Virginia Tech 6' 4" 259 4
130 Adrian Hubbard Alabama 6' 6" 257 4
133 Josh Mauro Stanford 6' 6" 271 4

Looking at this list it is full of "tweeners" or guys who are probably a little bit too small to play DE in a traditional 4-3, but might not be the level of coverage player that is generally sought out of top level 3-4 OLBs. Many of these guys played some sort of Jack, Star, or Stud LB position in college that allowed them to rush the passer on passing downs without being subjected to taking on OT's one on one in the run game. However, tendencies show that Rod Marinelli cares less about measurables, and more about ability.

Many of these players could be very valuable additions to the pass rush rotation in Dallas, and could help the process of improving the defense as a whole, without spending the off-season's most valuable resource, your first round pick, on a player with major question marks about his ability at the next level.