With pick #231 (overall), the 16th pick in the seventh round, the Dallas Cowboys select defensive end Ben Gardner out of Stanford. Garner is a very athletic defensive end that was unexpectedly snubbed at the combine but had a fantastic pro day. Some of his numbers:
Three-year starting defensive end (and shocking Combine omission) Ben Gardner, however, took full advantage of his opportunity to work out for scouts, recording a 39.5" vertical and a 10-2" broad jump - numbers that would've ranked second and tied for fifth, respectively, among defensive linemen tested in Indianapolis.
The 6-foot-4, 262 pound Gardner also was clocked in at 6.78 seconds in the 3-cone drill and 4.83 seconds in the 40-yard dash. These explosive numbers provide quantitative evidence of the athleticism Gardner demonstrates on tape. Like Murphy, Gardner is viewed by some as a 'tweener but he's shown the grit to handle remaining on the defensive line as well as enough fluidity and instincts to operate as a linebacker.
Gardner was providing a lot of disruption with some big plays. In his eight games, he recorded 19 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The stats don't illustrate it, but Gardner helped teammate Trent Murphy lead the nation in sacks.
Gardner had a strong 2012 season with 49 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, five passes batted and a huge forced fumble - against Notre Dame. He had 35 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks in 2011.
To go along with his physicality, Gardner is very intelligent. He reads plays well and routinely gets in a position to help stuff runs. Gardner has more burst than one would think as a pass-rusher. He has excellent hands to shed linemen and cause disruption. Gardner also gives great effort and doesn't take plays off. He and Murphy formed a fabulous inside-outside tandem in the first half of the 2013 season for the Cardinal. Gardner played defensive end and tackle for Stanford.
Cowboys 2014 draft picks
Round 1: Pick 16 (16 overall) --- Zack Martin (OT/OG Notre Dame)
Round 2: Pick 15 (47 overall) --- Demarcus Lawrence (DE Boise St.)
Round 3: Pick 14 (78 overall)Traded
Round 4: Pick 19 (119 overall) --- Anthony Hitchens (OLB Iowa)
Round 5: Pick 6 (146 overall) --- Devin Street (WR Pittsburgh)
Round 7: Pick 14 (229 overall) (from Bears)Traded
Round 7: Pick 16 (231 overall) ---
Round 7: Pick 23 (238 overall) (from Chiefs)
Round 7: Pick 33 (248 overall) (compensatory selection)
Round 7: Pick 36 (251 overall) (compensatory selection)
Round 7: Pick 39 (254 overall) (compensatory selection)
Cowboys team needs
Defensive Tackle: With Jason Hatcher gone and Nick Hayden just a serviceable player, the Cowboys interior is weak. Henry Melton has been signed but is coming off an ACL injury. A couple of guys on the roster could help, but Dallas needs a stud.
Defensive End: Long time pass rusher DeMarcus Ware is no longer a Cowboy. That immediately leaves a huge hole. Anthony Spencer is trying to recover from injury. The rest are unproven. Help is needed. [UPDATE] The addition of Demarcus Lawrence makes defensive end help less of a priority.
Safety: Barry Church can play, everyone else is questionable. J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Matt Johnson? None of them are a lock.
Guard/Tackle: Mackenzy Bernadeau is a stop-gap. Ron Leary showed some promise, but needs to improve and has a chronic knee injury. Doug Free could regress at any moment. [UPDATE] With the selection of Zack Martin, the Cowboys need for offensive line help is greatly reduced. Wide Receiver: Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams form a good duo, but behind them is slot receiver Cole Beasley. The Cowboys could use another guy. [UPDATE] The Cowboys drafted Devin Street to solve this need.