Oct 19, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler (6) is pressured by Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end Stephon Tuitt (7) and nose tackle Louis Nix (1) in the first quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 14-10. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

SI.com 2014 NFL Mock Draft: The Dallas Cowboys Select…

Our partner site, SI.com, has just released their latest NFL Mock Draft predictions for 2014. And in it, they have the Dallas Cowboys filling-in a vital missing piece for the Monte Kiffin defense. With the potential loss of Jason Hatcher this offseason to free agency, the defensive tackle position appears to be a major need for the Cowboys going into 2014. Here’s what Chris Burke of SI.com had to say about the Cowboys’ projected first round pick:

17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)*: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame.

“With or without Monte Kiffin running the defense, the Cowboys would be wise to add someone like Nix. The massive 340-pound tackle simply plugs up the middle, be it from the 1-tech or directly over the center. Impending free agent Jason Hatcher may be on his way out, so finding Nix here could be even more of a boon.”

Here’s I rated Nix earlier this season as a possible Cowboys draft prospect:

Measurables: 6-2, 352, 5.17

CBS Big Board Rank: 23rd Overall

Walter Football Big Board Rank: 7th Overall

Quick Analysis: Nix’s specialty is causing havoc in the middle of the line. But his season was cut short this year after he decided to have surgery for a torn meniscus he’s been playing through for the last two seasons. Although listed as a senior, Nix still has one year of eligibility left and is currently undecided about whether he’ll return to Notre Dame. CBS lists him as the only defensive tackle that is solely worthy of a first round pick.

Cowboys Angle: The Dallas Cowboys are expected to lose defensive tackle Jason Hatcher this offseason to free agency. If so, that leaves the team with a massive void in the middle of their line and only journeyman tackle Nick Hayden to fill it. With the Cowboys’ salary cap restrictions handcuffing them in free agency, getting defensive tackle prospects in the draft is going to be essential. If Nix falls to Dallas, it would be a big coup if they were able to come out of this draft with him.

You can see the rest of my Top Ten 2014 Cowboys Draft Prospects here: http://thelandryhat.com/2013/12/09/top-ten-2014-draft-prospects-dallas-cowboys-first-round-pick/

You can see the rest of the first round mock by Chris Burke here: http://nfl.si.com/2014/01/08/2014-nfl-mock-draft-johnny-manziel-2/

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