Dallas Cowboys 2014 Mock Draft with Player Scouting Profiles

Jonathan BalesAnalyst IJanuary 31, 2014

Dallas Cowboys 2014 Mock Draft with Player Scouting Profiles

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Dallas Cowboys' 2014 draft class isn't going to be accurately predicted in any mock draft (not even close).

    So why do them?

    Mock drafts have value because they allow teams to visualize different paths they can create for themselves (or those that will be created by virtue of the selections made by other teams).

    The Cowboys will likely perform their own mock drafts in the coming months as a way to understand the probability of certain prospects being available for them to pick in each round. Single mock drafts are analogous to individual presidential polls; alone, they don't have much value because preferences can change over short periods of time. But a series of such drafts can allow teams to better anticipate their options.

    Further, mocks also allow us to analyze prospects in ever greater detail and forecast how a proposed selection early in the proceedings could affect the rest of a team's draft. With each selection, teams should be asking themselves "What does this player give us? What does his selection limit us from doing in subsequent rounds?"

    Without further ado, let's get into one potential path for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014.

Round 1: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

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    The Cowboys are clearly in the market for defensive linemen, and Missouri's Kony Ealy is an interesting name to watch in the first round. Projected to get selected right around the Cowboys' pick (currently No. 17 overall), Ealy would likely compete right out of the gate for a starting defensive end spot with George Selvie.

    Ealy is a long defensive end at 6'5", 275 pounds. He's very athletic and a force against the run, but the question is whether he has enough pass-rushing ability to justify a top-20 selection; he did not show much promise as an edge-rusher until his final season at Missouri when he recorded eight sacks.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    Ealy's selection would likely mean the Cowboys would bypass other defensive ends in the next few rounds. There are a lot of quality options who could fall to them in the second round (Stanford's Trent Murphy, Louisville's Marcus Smith, Oregon State's Scott Crichton), so it will be up to Dallas to determine if the drop-off in talent from Ealy is enough to justify selecting him in the first.

    This mode of decision-making, known as position scarcity, shows why a "best player available" draft strategy is bogus; without properly evaluating position depth and the value of potential replacement picks, teams cannot maximize the overall talent of their draft classes.

Round 2: Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame

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    The Cowboys' top position of need is probably defensive tackle. With Nick Hayden still entrenched as a starter and Jason Hatcher on his way out, Dallas is in serious need of a playmaker in the middle.

    Notre Dame defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt can be that guy. At 6'6", 312 pounds, Tuitt has elite length to hold off blockers. He was extremely productive in college, racking up 96 tackles and 19.5 sacks the past two seasons. Best of all, as a true junior, he's got youth on his side.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    Tuitt's selection in the second round would likely mean the Cowboys lucked out. By all accounts, this class of defensive ends seems much deeper than the interior defensive linemen. If Tuitt gets selected ahead of Dallas, there's not a whole lot left; some people like Penn State's Daquan Jones or South Carolina's Kelcy Quarles, but they have some major weaknesses.

    The Cowboys' ideal draft would likely involve a defensive tackle and defensive end in the first two rounds, but what order? In this mock draft, the Cowboys went with the latter position in the first round, but that might turn out to be a poor decision when the actual draft rolls around.

    There's a much better chance that a quality defensive end drops to the second round than a top-tier defensive tackle.

Round 3: Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman

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    It wouldn't be a Dallas Cowboys draft if they didn't select a small-school player in the middle rounds. Last year it was safety J.J. Wilcox, and in this mock draft, it's Furman guard Dakota Dozier.

    Dozier was an offensive tackle in college who will probably move inside at the next level. As PhiladelphiaEagles.com reported, Dozier played well at guard during East-West Shrine Game practices:

    The small-school left tackle was kicked into guard during practice on Tuesday, the position he'll play in the NFL, and looked good at his new spot. Dozier, 6-4, 312, overcame his lack of size and power by blocking with great technique and controlling defenders in one-on-one drills. He's an athletic sort of lineman who will only improve as he physically matures and gets stronger.

     

    Dozier would give the Cowboys some depth at a position that's thin behind starters Ronald Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    Dozier's selection here would be the first on offense for Dallas and could suggest that the front office realizes that Leary and Bernadeau, in particular, might not play as well in 2014 as they did last season. Dozier could also provide the versatility that would allow Dallas to activate the minimum number of offensive linemen used on game day.

Round 4: Jordan Zumwalt, OLB, UCLA

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    UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt has the versatility to play either inside in a 3-4 defense or outside in a 4-3. He's be the latter for Dallas, likely working as the "Sam" linebacker with Bruce Carter playing the "Will."

    Zumwalt was productive in 2013 with 91 tackles. At 6'4", 235 pounds, Zumwalt is a physical player who shouldn't have problems defending the run. The question is how he can perform against the pass, meaning that he might not be a three-down player in the NFL.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    The Cowboys are in the market for an outside linebacker. Zumwalt could possibly play on first and second down for Dallas, although he'd probably have a difficult time beating out DeVonte Holloman for a starting spot.

    The Cowboys probably won't be finding any immediate impact players in the fourth round anyway.

Round 5: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

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    One of the most underrated running backs in this year's class, Baylor's Lache Seastrunk has it all. With good size at 5'11", 210 pounds, Seastrunk has 4.45 speed. That's incredibly important for running backs.

    Seastrunk was also extremely efficient in college, rushing for 7.6 yards per carry. He didn't run between the tackles much at Baylor, and he needs to work on catching the ball out of the backfield, but he'd make for the perfect backup to DeMarco Murray and potential starter in 2015.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    Seastrunk's selection would mean the Cowboys realize they made a mistake on running back Joseph Randle in 2013. A light back with below-average speed, Randle has a very low probability of NFL success.

    With Murray a free agent after the 2014 season, the Cowboys will need to find a young replacement.

Round 7: Marqueston Huff, FS, Wyoming

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    Another small-school player, Wyoming safety Marqueston Huff would compete with a crowded but underwhelming group of safeties in Dallas. A playmaker in college, Huff is a 5'11", 198-pound safety with range.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    Huff's selection would indicate the Cowboys aren't completely confident that either J.J. Wilcox, Matt Johnson, and Jeff Heath have the abilities to be a capable NFL starter. 

Round 7: Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford

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    A late-round prospect with good size, Stanford offensive tackle Cameron Fleming stands 6'6", 318 pounds. He was overshadowed by David Yankey in college, but Fleming has enough upside to warrant consideration in the late rounds of the draft.

    It's worth noting that because seventh-round picks rarely pan out, it benefits teams to try to hit a home run. That means valuing upside over consistency, which means more small-school prospects or players with off-field/injury concerns getting longer looks.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    While a "best player available" draft strategy is suboptimal early, it makes sense in the middle and late rounds. Whomever Dallas drafts in the seventh round, you can be confident those players are the top-rated prospects remaining on their board and not a "need" selection.

Round 7: Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt

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    A 6'0", 190-pound cornerback out of Vanderbilt, Hal played only seven games in 2013 due to injury. He still managed 49 tackles and three interceptions during that time. Hal will need to add some bulk at the next level.

     

    What His Selection Would Mean

    Hal's selection could indicate the Cowboys have lost confidence in cornerback B.W. Webb. Webb is also undersized, checking in at only 178 pounds.