Michael Conroy/Associated Press
We start with the picks we liked:
Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame (1st, 16th overall)
While we thought the Cowboys should have been thinking about taking a pass-rusher in this spot, Martin is a safe, versatile addition. And by picking him, the Cowboys have proven to us that they’ve become much more disciplined and aren’t giving up on Tony Romo and the current incarnation of this squad.
They didn’t go with the sexy pick, Johnny Manziel, and they didn’t reach for a DeMarcus Ware replacement with Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr off the board. Instead, they took someone who can help keep Romo clean as a starting guard from the get-go, and who should be a long-term replacement for Doug Free at right tackle.
Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh (5th, 146th overall)
He’s a mature, experienced former team captain who was consistently productive at Pitt, and the Cowboys could use one more receiver to push Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley now that Miles Austin is toast. In that respect, the fact that Street can play in the slot is big.
Speaking of big, the kid is 6’3”. He lacks bulk but there is time for him to build that frame. So it’s a nice pick, but trading up for him was a little odd. Still, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because Street has potential.
Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford (7th, 231st overall)
Could Gardner be the next nobody defensive end that Rod Marinelli turns into gold? It’s possible. He wasn’t even invited to the combine but excelled at Stanford’s Pro Day, according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com. Hard to challenge this pick.
Ahmad Dixon, SS, Baylor (7th, 248th overall)
Dixon might not be polished, and he's a little stiff, but this is a tremendous value pick at a position of need. B/R's Matt Miller had him as a third-round pick, and many mock drafters had him just as high. Watch for him to compete with J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath and Matt Johnson.
Ken Bishop, DT, Northern Illinois (7th, 251st overall)
He visited them leading up to the draft, so this is no big surprise. Hard to hate on a seventh-round compensatory pick, but he has a chance to be a specialist in run defense, and there’s an opportunity to make this team if Rod Marinelli loves you. The Cowboys need depth right along that defensive line.
Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon (7th, 254th overall)
See above regarding seventh-round compensatory picks. If we had a "neutral" category, Mitchell would be there. Still, this looks like a nice value pick at a position they hadn't addressed thus far. Matt Miller had him going in Round 5, and Nolan Nawrocki thinks he could earn a No. 4 corner spot.