The 2014 NFL mock draft should be an interesting one for the Dallas Cowboys who must strike a careful balance between want and need. How do things play out?
Round 1 – Aaron Donald – DT – Pitt
Rod Marinelli is in charge of the defense now and given their situation it’s almost certain the Cowboys will take a defensive lineman. One of the keys to their particular scheme is have a pass rusher at the three-technique position. Though undersized, Aaron Donald plays with natural leverage, elite quickness, explosion and violence that makes him a nightmare to block.
Round 2 – Ed Reynolds – FS – Stanford
Playing on a team filled with defensive stars can get players overlooked at times, which is a shame because Ed Reynolds was easily underappreciated at Stanford. The 6’2″ safety boasts the size and burst of the free position, he can drop back in coverage or drive down on the run with equal effectiveness.
Round 3 – Weston Richburg – C – Colorado State
This might sound counterproductive considering Dallas already found a center in Travis Frederick but this move could solve two of their problems at once. Weston Richburg has emerged as one of the top centers in the country with the quickness, intelligence and athleticism needed for the position. The Cowboys could plug him in at that spot and then move Frederick over to solve their guard problem.
Round 4 – Aaron Murray – QB – Georgia
Here are the facts. Tony Romo is turning 34 and coming off back surgery. His backup Kyle Orton is 31. The Dallas Cowboys simply can’t wait on adding a young arm to their system any longer. Aaron Murray suffered an unfortunate knee injury to end the 2013 season but before that he was the most prolific passer in SEC history with the arm, poise and athleticism needed for the position.
Round 5 – Antone Exum – CB – Virginia Tech
Scouts aren’t sure what to make of Antone Exum. The young man out of Virginia Tech clearly has talent and showed loads of versatility playing both safety and corner in college. He’s aggressive, physical, isn’t afraid of contact and shows the ability to go after the football in the air.
Round 7 (from CHI) – Russell Bodine – OG – North Carolina
Arm length will be a primary reason it takes awhile for Russell Bodine to get drafted but the Dallas Cowboys won’t complain once they get him on the field. The North Carolina guard is tough, gritty and plays with plenty of athletic potential. His calling card is pass protection where he can anchor against bull rushers and then move his feet to handle speed as well.
Round 7 – Matt Hazel – WR – Coastal Carolina
It hardly seems like there isn’t a draft that goes by without the Cowboys taking a wide receiver at some point. Don’t expect this 2014 NFL mock draft to be any different. Matt Hazel is one of those classic Fred Biletnikoff types. He has no athletic or size traits that stand out but a combination of route running and great hands allow him to contribute regardless of his perceived physical skill.