5 Bold Predictions for Dallas Cowboys' 2014 NFL Draft Class
The 2014 NFL draft has come and gone. Most teams are extremely happy with where they’re at based on the belief that their draft picks will be successful.
The Dallas Cowboys are certainly one of these teams. Owner Jerry Jones hopes a few of his rookies are just the right pieces to move Dallas toward another Super Bowl.
Predicting how rookie players are going to perform is a difficult task, but I’m going to take a crack at it. Please note that these are in fact bold predictions and not necessarily the most realistic outcomes.
LB Anthony Hitchens Is Consistent Role Player
The Cowboys took Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens in the fourth round of the draft. The pick was a bit of a surprise at the time given the players remaining on the board and the team’s biggest needs.
Although Hitchens doesn’t play along the defensive line, he could have a fairly high impact for Dallas. Linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter haven’t made it through the last two seasons without injury, giving Hitchens the potential to play a significant amount.
Despite some people not liking the pick, Hitchens was very good in college and has room to improve. I can see him becoming a consistent role player in 2014 and even someone who can start in place of an injury.
S Ahmad Dixon Starts 5 Games
Ahmad Dixon was the only safety the Cowboys selected last weekend. Even though he was just a seventh-round choice, the former Baylor Bear is someone to keep an eye on this year.
Clearly the Cowboys front office felt comfortable with who they have in place at safety. They could have had their choice of any safety on the board at pick No. 16, but they chose to go in the other direction.
Although it’s evident there is talent on the roster for the spot opposite of Barry Church, I’m still not sold on any of them being a long-term solution. Dixon lasted until the final round, but he was projected higher by plenty of mock drafts.
That being said, it’s not crazy to think Dixon can start a handful of games this year. Whether he simply outplays guys like J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath or fills in for an injury, Dixon could be an important player.
DE Demarcus Lawrence Records 10 Sacks
One of the most exciting selections the Cowboys made was Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence. Defense was the main focus in this draft, and early in the second round, Dallas traded up to get its man.
Lawrence was one of several ends available, but by moving up to pick No. 34, it was evident who Jones wanted to have. The Cowboys' new end was ranked as the third-best in this year’s class by CBS Sports and was projected by several to be a first-rounder.
The rookie may not start immediately because if healthy, George Selvie and Anthony Spencer are better options right now. However, even if both are fit, Lawrence could emerge as one of the better players on the team. If he gets enough of an opportunity, Lawrence could shock the league and get double-digit sacks.
OL Zack Martin Makes Pro Bowl
Another high draft choice for Dallas was offensive lineman Zack Martin. Dallas surprisingly stayed put in the first round and took the former Fighting Irish player at No. 16.
Although the pick didn’t address the team’s biggest need, Martin will start immediately along the offensive line. Because of his versatility, the rookie can easily begin next year at one of the guard or right tackle spots.
With Pro Bowler Tyron Smith anchoring the left tackle and fellow first-round choice Travis Frederick at center, Martin has a chance to make this unit truly special. It may be far-fetched, but if the Dallas offense plays up to its potential, Martin could earn a trip to Hawaii.
WR Devin Street Catches 10 Touchdowns
The only other offensive player the Cowboys took was Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street. Dallas needed to add a weapon on the outside and decided Street was the guy in the fifth round.
Street has good size at 6’ 3”, 198 pounds and incredible hands to go with it. The senior captain became Pitt’s all-time leading pass-catcher last season by reaching 202 receptions.
The rookie will compete with the likes of Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris for the right to start as the No. 3. Not only do I think he’ll win, but become a real positive influence on the offense. With all the attention on Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the red zone, watch Street rack up the scores in 2014.