Conventional wisdom says the Cowboys, currently sitting with perhaps the worst defensive end group in all of the NFL—one that sports George Selvie as the top rusher and maybe Tyrone Crawford as the No. 2—need to draft a defensive end in the first round.
The problem is a lack of talent. After South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, not much is available in the mid-first where Dallas currently possesses a pick. A first-round trade-down is a likely scenario, in which case there are some prospects who offer better value.
In the following slides, I’ve identified the five defensive ends who offer the most value to Dallas, listing their age, production, arm length, broad jump and projected round. Age is an important and oft-overlooked prospect trait; all other things equal, we want to see prospects dominate in college at a young age.
A history of past production is of course vital for defensive ends—a reason Missouri’s Kony Ealy could be overdrafted. Arm length might be the most underappreciated trait for pass-rushers; NFL teams value it, but not nearly as much as they should. And finally, the broad jump is a highly underrated measure of explosiveness.