With pick #248 (overall), the 33rd pick in the seventh round, the Dallas Cowboys select safety Ahmad Dixon from Baylor.
STRENGTHS: Solidly built with adequate length and muscle definition...good straight-line athlete and fast downhill with strong hands to finish...takes sharp angles to find the quickest route from A-to-B with an accurate first step, helping with his overall range...physical striker and throws his body around in run support - fierce, violent tackler...nice job working off contact and shedding blocks to make open-field stops...confident, fearless player and not afraid to jump routes to go after the ball - carries himself with a swagger...versatile and productive experience (38 career starts), lining up at LB, NB, SS - leaves school with 288 career tackles and multiple All-Big 12 honors.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to consistently wrap on tackle attempts and not just hit his target...plays wild and needs to stay under control and balanced to make consistent stops...stiff midsection and hips, inhibiting him from quickly changing directions...struggles in man coverage to find the ball and keep his feet moving to stick with targets downfield...awareness is still a work-in-progress, too often he is a step late to the play against the pass - too many incorrect reads with questionable diagnose skills...suspect ballskills and doesn't make enough plays on the ball...undisciplined striker and will get flagged for targeting and head-hunting, going for the knockout blow...needs to keep his wits and stay under control, both physically and emotionally...character needs investigated after Sept. 2013 assault charges after repeatedly punching a fan in the face that he accused of breaking into his apartment (charges later dropped).
Dixon is an extremely active run defender and loves to get his hands dirty, but needs to clean up his tackling technique and button up his reliability as a striker to eliminate the illegal hits - has the on-field temperament you want. He is still a work-in-progress in coverage and will be asked to do several things in the NFL that he never did in college - will need time to adjust to the pro game. Dixon is an adequate size/speed athlete with a passionate competitive drive, but lacks the discipline to be an every-down starter - mid-to-late round pick with the makings of a core special teams guy and back-up SS.
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) --- Ben Gardner (DE Stanford)
Round 7: Pick 23 (238 overall) (from Chiefs) --- Will Smith (LB Texas Tech)
Round 7: Pick 33 (248 overall) (compensatory selection) --- Ahmad Dixon (S Baylor)
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. [UPDATE] The Cowboys picked up safety Ahmad Dixon late in the draft. 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.