Stock Up, Stock Down for the Dallas Cowboys' Top Draft Targets
With so many needs, the Cowboys have been linked to multiple targets in the first round. Each prospect brings something to this team and each could serve as an upgrade to a team that has seen back-to-back-to-back 8-8 seasons under head coach Jason Garrett.
Now that all the speculation is dying down, we’re able to identify the top targets for this franchise. Let’s look at a stock report for all of the Cowboys’ top targets.
Stock Up: Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh
Despite signing defensive tackle Henry Melton, the Cowboys would certainly welcome a terrific 3-technique prospect like Donald. After a strong college career and quite a few outstanding predraft workouts, ESPN’s Louis Riddick has called Donald the "draft’s best defender."
For a while it seemed like the Cowboys and Donald would be a perfect fit, but after a dominant NFL combine Donald may not be available when the Cowboys are on the clock.
As the offseason has gone on Donald has been linked to many teams but now seems to be mostly linked to the New York Giants. It’s been quite a ride for Donald, who has seen his draft stock soar and looks to be a big winner come draft day.
Stock Down: Timmy Jernigan, Defensive Tackle, Florida State
Jernigan is another guy who would provide an upgrade to the Cowboys’ defensive line. A 1-technique who had a successful career at Florida State University, Jernigan is often inked to the Cowboys.
Unfortunately for Jernigan, recent news has surfaced that he failed a drug test at the NFL Combine. This recent news could really hurt Jernigan’s draft prospects. As ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer notes (Insider required), Jernigan is likely just a two-down player in the Tampa 2 scheme, which makes it unlikely that the Cowboys would consider him in the first round.
Despite recent reports, the Cowboys seem to still be interested in Jernigan. However, I don’t believe that he is a legitimate target until the second round. As a 1-tech who isn’t a strong pass-rusher, I don’t see him being the impact player the Cowboys direly need.
Stock Up: Dominique Easley, Defensive Tackle, Florida
Recently, Easley visited Valley Ranch and said he got “good vibes” from the team. Easley would be an excellent fit as a 3-technique for a Cowboys defense that has serious needs on the line. As long as his health continues to check out, Easley could be a huge steal in this draft.
I’ll be curious to see where Easley finally lands. Considering that he’s had a full predraft schedule, I would expect he’s going to continue climbing up draft boards.
Stock Down: C.J. Mosley
Mosley is a bit of an enigma as a prospect. He’s an elite athlete and likely the best interior linebacker in the draft. However, injuries have created some concern and caused his draft projections to be all over the place.
Mosley suffered a slew of injuries in his collegiate career that included a dislocated elbow and hip. While medical evaluations seemed to be positive, teams will likely still be weary of the Alabama star.
Mosley has the ability to be a real steal for any team who drafts him. He has speed, great range and ability to make big plays. While he fits best in a 4-3 defense, he can certainly play in a 3-4 or hybrid scheme. If he can overcome injuries, his falling stock could provide gold for a team willing to take a risk on him.
Stock Up: Zack Martin, Offensive Lineman, Notre Dame
In a draft stocked full of premium offensive tackles, Zack Martin seems to be a guy who’s generating a lot of buzz. More importantly to Dallas fans, he seems to be a guy who is consistently projected to go to the Cowboys.
The Cowboys need to start finding an heir at the right tackle with Doug Free’s contract set to expire in 2015. With key prospects like Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan likely gone, Martin might be the best option for the Cowboys to finish rebuilding their offensive line.
Unfortunately, Martin may be gone as well.
It seems like Martin is starting to get more attention from the teams with premier picks, most notably the New York Giants. The Giants view Martin as a versatile lineman who can play any position on the offensive line.
Martin’s versatility as a lineman and his ability to make an impact immediately makes him a hot commodity. He may be as close to a sure thing as you can get.