Dallas Cowboys 2014 Mock Draft: Who Is the Ideal Pick in Every Round?
After yet another 8-8 season and being strapped financially heading into next year, the Dallas Cowboys need to have one stellar draft.
Make no mistake about it, this year's NFL draft is all about the defensive side of the ball for Big D. The Cowboys ranked in the bottom five statistically against both the pass and running game last year. They also finished with one of the worst defenses, at least statistically speaking, in NFL history.
While the defense will be the focus of this year's draft for Dallas, the offense could use some pieces to build for the future of the franchise. The most obvious position this is needed at is quarterback.
Some of the names listed here might not be completely realistic given the Cowboys' draft position in some rounds, but rather who would be most ideal in each round. Let's take a look at the best pick for Dallas in all seven rounds.
Round 1: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
Due to the departure of Jay Ratliff and likely departures of Anthony Spencer and Jason Hatcher, the Cowboys desperately need to address the defensive line.
The best way for the Cowboys to cushion the blow of likely not being able to afford bringing back Spencer and Hatcher is by drafting Kony Ealy.
As Bleacher Report's own NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller noted in his latest mock draft, Ealy "will draw comparisons to Aldon Smith, and they aren't far off." Miller explained that Ealy's versatility to play outside the tackle or as a 3-technique guy is why he thinks the Tennessee Titans will take him at No. 11 overall.
Dallas might not be able to get its hands on Ealy due to drafting in the middle of the first round, but there's no question he is the franchise's ideal pick in the first round.
With so much talent being lost on the defensive line, Ealy is the young talent that the Cowboys need to ensure there's still someone to fear besides DeMarcus Ware up front.
Round 2: OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Baylor running backs have had great success finding huge holes to run through the past few seasons. Guys like Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin can thank the likes of guard Cyril Richardson for that.
Richardson stands a beastly 6'5", 340 pounds, which is the kind of size the Cowboys have always loved in their offensive linemen dating back to the glory days of the 1990s. He is a force in the running game and would be a huge help for DeMarco Murray.
The offensive line shocked more than a few with its play last season for Dallas. That being said, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary can't possibly be seen as the future at either guard position.
Richardson would bring stability to the left guard position for the Cowboys for the next decade or so and bring in a valuable piece to help Murray repeat his 1,000-yard 2013 season.
After drafting Travis Frederick in the first round last draft, Dallas could have two stellar building blocks up front if they can land Richardson too.
Round 3: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
It seems only fitting that Tony Romo's possible successor at quarterback in Dallas could be a fellow Eastern Illinois alum.
While with the Panthers, Jimmy Garoppolo posted 4,729 passing yards and 51 touchdowns this past season, both being single-season Ohio Valley Conference records. Garoppolo's 51 touchdowns is also a school record by a quarterback, shattering Romo's old record of 34 in a season.
At 6'3", the latest quarterback sensation at Eastern Illinois has the size and has shown with his arm that he also possesses the accuracy to be a successful NFL quarterback.
Romo is set to turn 34 years old in April and has had two back surgeries in the past two offseasons. Now is the time for the Cowboys to draft their future quarterback for when Romo is set to hang up the cleats.
Considering that Romo still has some years left before that time comes, Dallas can let Garoppolo sit on the bench and learn for several seasons. This would also give the team time to assess if he is indeed the QB they want after No. 9.
Round 4: DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee
The Dallas defensive line cannot be fixed with just one pick in this year's draft. The Cowboys need to address the interior of the line in the middle rounds and Daniel McCullers is a great way to shore it up.
McCullers stands a towering 6'6" and weighs in at more than 350 pounds with power to boot. He knows how to get the best of one-on-one matchups and was no stranger to double-teams at Tennessee.
While McCullers might not be the next Vince Wilfork, he could become a solid and reliable starter for the Cowboys at defensive tackle. There's no mistaking the fact this is a position of need for the franchise, but it likely won't be able to be addressed until the middle rounds.
At this point in the draft, McCullers would be solid pick that could lead to a decent big man in the middle of Dallas' new defensive line.
Round 5: FS Terrence Brooks, Florida State
The Cowboys have been hurting for depth and security at the safety position since cutting Roy Williams way back when.
Dallas did draft J.J. Wilcox just last year in the third round, but he lost his job at one point last season to undrafted rookie Jeff Heath. Barry Church is a decent player, but he's not exactly Earl Thomas back there.
Terrence Brooks probably won't be the next Earl Thomas either, but he would provide solid depth to a position that has needed it for some time. CBS Sports ranks him as the fourth-best free safety in this year's draft class fresh off his team's national championship victory.
Brooks has noticeable agility and has an impressive burst of speed at his disposal when he needs it. The Cowboys could use a safety with a nose for closing in on the ball-carrier, and that's something Brooks can bring to the table for them.
It may only be a year after drafting Wilcox, but Dallas still needs to address this position for depth purposes at the very least.
Round 7: OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College
The Cowboys have two draft picks in the seventh round due to deals with the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively. Kevin Pierre-Louis out of Boston College would be a top-notch late selection for the team.
Outside linebacker Bruce Carter has an injury history and took some time to adjust to Monte Kiffin's defensive system last year. DeVonte Holloman saw some playing time last year opposite Carter and did contribute two sacks against Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17. The issue here for Dallas is depth, though.
With Carter's injury history and Holloman's lack of starting experience, it would be beneficial to have Pierre-Louis in the fold. He tallied 104 tackles this past season along with 10.5 for a loss, helping him score All-ACC honors.
Pierre-Louis is as good a draft pick as any for the Cowboys this late in the draft.
Round 7: OT Kenarious Gates, Georgia
Georgia product Kenarious Gates more than fits the mold of a Cowboys offensive lineman at 6'5", 327 pounds. He's an offensive tackle that knows how to move and could bring some good depth at the position.
Dallas probably isn't in the market to replace Tyron Smith or Doug Free this offseason and that's not what Gates would be in the running for, either. He would, however, be a good option to have.
Last year, the Cowboys had few options at tackle besides their starters. Jermey Parnell and Darrion Weems were the team's only options if either Smith or Free went down.
Gates is a big man who could be a useful project and at the very least another option on the depth chart. He's certainly worth of Dallas' last pick in the draft this year.