*Includes compensatory picks*
Round 1-Louis Nix Notre Dame I reserve the right to change this pick to Aaron Donald all the way up until after the Pittsburg Steelers pick because the Cowboys would run to the podium to pick him but after a great offseason at the Senior Bowl, combine and pro day I think he’s played his way out of the Boys reach. But luckily they got Henry Melton to play that three technique but to make the defense better it also needs a strong one technique to play the run and take up blockers. The massive 331 pound Nix can do just that. He’s not just a run stuffer though. He can push the pocket and provide some pass rush as well. Having him there can hopefully keep blockers off the linebackers and preserve some of Sean Lee’s health.
Round 2-Jackson Jeffcoat-Texas If that last name sounds familiar to you, you’ve probably heard your dad talking about his dad James Jeffcoat who was a former defensive end for the Cowboys in the 80s and early 90s. Young Jackson followed in his dad’s footsteps by also playing defensive end and with the severe needs on the Cowboys defensive line he could also follow his dad’s career path and play for the Cowboys. As of now the Cowboys have no proven pass rushers beyond George Selvie who before last season was a career journeyman. Jeffcoat provides athleticism and can be an immediate starter a defensive end. Adding on some muscle to hold up better against the run is needed and he does have an injury history but he is plenty talented and can be the replacement for Demarcus Ware.
Round 3-Ed Reynolds-Stanford The Cowboys haven’t had a reliable safety option since Darren Woodson had to retired. Roy Williams was good but he was more of a linebacker in the back-end. They have been trying to replace him with a ball hawking safety for years and have failed at every turn. Ed Reynolds is a playmaker on the backend and has led the nation in interceptions. He is comfortable supporting the run but better playing centerfield and making plays on the ball which the Cowboys desperately need. He would allow Barry Church to do what he does best and make tackles. He has good size and is fast enough to cover ground.
Round 4-Ben Gardner-Stanford Two Stanford Cardinals in a row fill two needs for the Cowboys defense. Gardner was a combine snub but at his pro day showed what kind of athlete he is with a 39.5” vertical, 10-2” broad jump and 4.83 40 –yard dash at 6’4 262 pounds. He has good size to play defensive end and hold up against the run. The cowboys need quality depth and he can provide that. He was a productive college player and makes plays in the backfield. That’s what this defense needs.
Round 5-Anthony Steen-Alabama Jason Garret absolutely loves Nick Saban and Alabama. He wants to build the Cowboys like Saban has built Bama, which is weird seeing as though that is a college team and he’s the head coach of America’s Team but that’s for another day. I’m sure he will talk to Saban a little bit before the draft to get some insight on a few players. The Cowboys offensive line was actually strength last year but it can be better and at the least they need depth. Steen provides depth with the upside to be a starter down the line. He’s going to come in well coached on technique and he’s a very good run blocker. He needs help with pass protecting but he will be a good value pick here.
Round 7-Denicos Allen-Michigan St Playmaker. That’s what this guy is. He’s very undersized and didn’t run as fast at his pro day as you would like for an undersized backer but on the football field he is a rocket. He was one of the best players on the Rose Bowl winning defense at Michigan St. He flys to the ball and makes tackles all over the place. His size will limit him but he’s great at getting around guys and getting to the ball. Outside of Sean Lee the Cowboys can stand for an upgrade at linebacker. This guy can come in a star on special teams now until he’s ready to take over a starting spot. He’s one of my favorite players in the draft.
Round 7-Bennett Jackson-Notre Dame Jackson was part of that defense that led the Fighting Irish to the BCS Championship 2 years ago. HEs not the biggest corner and not the fastest but he has good size and competes. He’s versatile and can play special teams. The Cowboys need all the help they can get and he can provide good depth in the secondary. He also played against top competition in college so he won’t have the type of learning curve recent Cowboy draftees BW Webb, JJ Wilcox and Matt Johnson had to go through coming from small schools.
Round 7-Stephan Morris-Miami With an extra 3 picks the Cowboys could use one to take a flyer on a developmental QB. Morris has talent but needs a lot of coaching. He’s athletic and has good arm strength. He wouldn’t need to play for maybe the next 2-3 seasons because even though Tony Romo is older he’s still effective and just signed a large contract. This would be a great year to add a project QB.
Round 7-Jay Prosch-Auburn The Cowboys went to a more power offense at the end of last season and shifted away from the singleback running attack. They signed Tyler Clutts from Chicago last year but why not take the lead blocker from the best running attack in college football to compete with him? He also plays special teams.
Round 7-Bennie Fowler-Michigan State the Cowboys got rid of Miles Austin so the depth at wide receiver took a hit even though Miles wasn’t on the field much because of his infamous hamstrings. Dez Bryant and Terrence Williams are more than capable of picking up the slack but depth is needed. With Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris most likely gaining more PT on offense they could use another body to play special teams and possibly return kicks. Fowler is fast and has played against good completion so he will compete.
Round 7-Laurent Dunernay-Tardif-McGill A rare talent from Canada looks to be draftable. He has the size, look and athleticism to play in the NFL. He looks to be either a guard or possibly a tackle. He’s extremely raw and will really need to be coached up. He will also need to get used to the NFL competition. A year or 2 as a back up or on the practice squad would do him well. He could develop into a versatile back up in the future.