Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Nick Hayden (96), defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (97) and defensive end Edgar Jones (55) during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Should Dallas Draft A Defensive Tackle In The First Round in 2014?


Despite there being a full month before the end of the regular season, many media writers are already speculating on the 2014 NFL Draft. And for the Dallas Cowboys, almost every mock draft has Dallas drafting a defensive tackle in the first round. But is that the Cowboys biggest need going into 2014?

Why do we do poll questions on The Landry Hat? Because we want to involve you, the die-hard Cowboys fan, in building an interactive community with us. Your poll answers influence our opinions, articles and discussions about all things Cowboys. We love reading your comments and tweets as well. Please help us make this the best Cowboys site on the internet by becoming involved in our community!

Here’s today’s poll question: 

Should The Dallas Cowboys Draft A Defensive Tackle In The First Round of the 2014 NFL Draft?

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Here’s my take:

“Although the Cowboys have need along the defensive line, I’m not sure the biggest need will be tackle when the offseason finally gets here. Actually, defensive end could be a bigger need. It depends on how you feel about the Cowboys hidden gems they found this year. Defensive tackle Nick Hayden and defensive end George Selvie have played well this season. Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher is at the end of his contract and having a Pro Bowl caliber season. Whether he returns is up in the air. Assuming Hatcher does, and defensive end Anthony Spencer is allowed to leave in the offseason, “end” might just be a bigger overall need. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is scheduled to make $13.5 million in the next three seasons. I’m not sure he isn’t a cap causality in the offseason. Not sure I trust rookie corner B.W. Webb as our primary back-up or nickle starter if Scandrick is cut. I’m also not settled on Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox as our starting safety tandem in 2014. Neither has made big plays this season. And don’t get me started with Jeff Heath and Matt Johnson. You can’t tell me a player like rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro would not have made a huge impact on this team this season. So, for me, safety is also an option depending upon who is available. That’s probably a good rule regardless of the position when it comes to first round picks. Unless that player is a tight end, that is.”

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Featured Mock Draft Popular

  • rickclg

    Well I must agree in your thoughts on defensive end over the tackle as the bigger need. Although safety could be an option , my personal opinion is to stay with the 2 we have for another year unless its a just can’t miss safety. I actually believe Willcox is going to develope very nicely, let’s not forget this is only his 2nd year in the safety position and we have seen the physical abilities there and I think another year we will see a major improvement. I myself am a true believer in a good pass rush makes a good secondary into a great secondary. I really like our corners but I think the scene Monty is using hinders them from their strengths all 3 are man press corners. And last but not least I really “REALLY” believe releasing Scandrick would be a major mistake. There are other positions where there is room for casualties for instance Justin Durantt we have good young player that will be ready by the start of next year.

  • Jd

    We all know the big time safety is Kiffin’s bread and butter player in order for his defense to be successful.
    There will definitely be cap casualties, on both sides of the ball. And knowing that Jerry tried to trade for Allen from Minnesota, I would think that would be his number 1 off season acquisition priority. So I would still think a defensive tackle is the move. Hageman from Minnesota is absolutely the pick, if still on the board.

    Your point about scandrick, I think it’s a decision that needs to be addressed. The decision will come down to either scandrick or Claiborne, can’t keep both.

    Moving forward with this defense, it has become one of the dominant D’s in this league in order to win consistently.

    I don’t know what direction Dallas will go in the draft. But whatever way it is, it has to, HAS TO be to upgrade this defense significantly.

    I sit back and watch week after week, Seattle, Carolina, Kansas City, at least through the 1st 9 games, the Saints, Cincinnati and whoever else you want to add to the list… Win game’s because their defense plays a full game, and manhandles the opposing offense. I WANT THAT. And we as fans deserve that.

    Winning in the NFL is killing the quarterback, stopping the run, 3rd down efficiency on defense and creating turnovers. We do 1 of those well, not good enough.
    A top D is the final piece to the puzzle. One we can rely on to step up and make plays consistently.
    I know it’s not going to happen over night. But this off season should be the start of it. Draft, free agency and getting our cap situation fixed.

    We as Cowboy fans have suffered a long time and through one heart break after another. And we keep using Romo as the problem.
    It’s time our defense is looked at as a major issue and get it fixed.
    We stick with this team through it all, no matter what.
    Your turn Jerry, give Cowboy Nation what it needs. A championship defense to go along with our top offense.

    Happy Holidays to Cowboy Nation!

  • Old Frog

    OG…all the way. Even without Ware, Spencer, Ratliff, and Hatcher we have good guys coming back and coming along. And don’t bail on Scandrick.

  • Juanito Juanito

    need a better pass rush period

  • SmartThinking

    Well. This appears to be the hot conversation topic once again.

    My views are a little different. I want Jones to draft two really good guards and let Waters teach them both on-the-job before he retires for good. Short of a competent running back or replacement, that takes care of the offense. I’d like to see Escobar and Austin get traded for as much as Dallas can get. I’d like to see Bernadeau replaced altogether, and, maybe Livings, too.

    Everything appears to be in a state of flux on defense. Hatcher and Ware may be gone. The entire defensive line MUST be rebuilt immediately. I think Church and Claiborne aren’t worth their contracts and should be given an ultimatum of improve or leave. Dallas must draft at least one and maybe two stud safeties or, maybe find a good, experienced player to trade for.

    Wilcox and Holloman should show a quantum leap in understanding by next season. I like them both a lot. Anyone who seriously suggests Scandrick should go is nuts! He’s elevated his game to an all new high and, in my opinion, he’s currently invaluable and worth his salary plus a raise.

    • David Kerr

      Totally agree about keeping Scandrick, and Wilcox and Holloman should both be starting next year. But doesn’t 2 guards seem a bit much? Leary has done a great job his first year here. I think just replacing Bernadeau and trying to keep Waters should really revitalize this O line.

  • aprado

    DT the front seven doesn’t provide enough pass rush for the tampa 2 to be effective. I like selvie and hayden but if hatch walks then DT becomes a critical position. You can get sold value at the guard in the second round. M

  • David Kerr

    Im right there with you at safety. It has been a long time since we’ve seen a dominant safety in Dallas, although I do disagree with you about church (see forced fumbles). Wilcox does not seem to have the coverage ability one would hope for from a safety. The Cowboys have shown the last two years they are more than capable of finding a line on the street to last a season, but I still think using a 4 or 5 on a DT would be a good idea. And as far as end goes I really like George Selvie, and the fact that he’s learning from Marinelli is awesome.

  • Juanito Juanito

    but knowing the cowboys gm he will select a long snaper in first round and a wather boy in second round, if in 2009 he said he select the draft for special teams, what can all fans can expect, or a TE in 3rd roun he is in love of them, dumb

  • californy

    I have study the DT-DE position the last several years and you can get the same production drafting in the later rounds than you would drafting in round one. The NE DE Chandler is the only player worth mentioning the last several years. Jones had 6 Sacks last year and now he has 10.5 sacks and over 60 tackles on the season. Ezekiel Ansah was the only guy I would consider drafting in the first rd this year and he has 24 tackles and 7 sacks on the season. John Abraham being a part time player has 24 tackles and 8 sacks on the season

  • smoothe

    I’m not sure why we didn’t use one of our picks on a DLineman in 2013 when it was a draft rich with them. Going forward, I would like to see a ‘best player available’ approach, as we will have some holes to fill come draft day. DL, OL, LB, S, DB are all needs at this point

  • Eddie

    Hatcher has expressed interest in testing the market. He is near the end of his prime and will be looking for a big pay day to finish out his career. As much as I like Hatcher, the Cap situation in Dallas is not good. I believe Spencer and Hatcher will both be gone. Scandrick has been the most consistent corner on the Dallas Cowboys this year, and it would be a huge mistake to let him go, especially given Claiborne’s injury history. I believe they will restructure his contract along with others to ensure they keep Scandrick on the team. Marinelli and Kiffin have a prototypical size/weight that they look for in their 3T DTs (6’0″-6’2″ 295-305ish) and DEs (6’3″-6’5″ 265-275ish). Judging off where most 3T DT prospects are currently being graded at and the Cowboys projected draft position, there are very few 3T DTs that have a 1st round grade that fit the mold that Marinelli and Kiffin like (maybe 1 or 2 if that). With Bernadeau as a band-aid at RG, I can see the Cowboys looking at OGs like Baylor’s Cyril Richardson, Stanford’s David Yankey, or Notre Dame’s Zack Martin to come in and start right away at RG and help solidify an improved offensive line. If not a Guard then perhaps they take a look at adding a DE as a pass rusher capable of CONSISTENTLY getting to the QB such as Stanford’s Trent Murphy (6’6″ 265ish) who is a high motor guy and happens to lead the nation in sacks with 13. In my opinion there are more 4-3 prototypical 3T DTs that fit the Marinelli/Kiffin mold in the 2nd and 3rd rounds such as South Carolina’s Kelcy Qualres (6’3″ 298, currently with 9.5 sacks, referred to as a Warren Sapp type player), Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan (6’2″ 298), LSU’s duo in Ego Ferguson (6’2″ 309) & Anthony “The Freak” Johnson (6’2″ 295). So in my opinion I think OG or a pass rushing DE will most likely be what they look at in the 1st round and taking a DT in the 2nd and maybe even the 3rd rounds as well.