Former New York Giant safety and current NFL Draft Analyst Mike Mayock released his top five position rankings for the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft class earlier this week. Of course, these rankings could change as we head into the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend. Today, I thought we’d analyze Mayock’s top five defensive tackles as possible selections for the Dallas Cowboys.
With the fate of Pro Bowl defensive tackle and current free agent Jason Hatcher up in the air, Dallas’ biggest need is most likely be at this position. Starting beside Hatcher last season was Nick Hayden, an unemployed journeyman defensive tackle who was a sixth round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2008. Out of football for over a year, Hayden last played professionally in August of 2012.
Behind the starters on the depth chart are Ben Bass, Corvey Irvin and Frank Kearse. Bass had an excellent training camp last season, but a separated shoulder landed him on injured reserve just prior to the start of the regular season. He’ll be expected to play a big role in the Cowboys defensive line in 2014.
Both Irvin and Kearse are relative unknowns. Irvin was signed in early November after the Cowboys gave up on DE/LB Caesar Rayford. Rayford actually cost the Cowboys an undisclosed draft pick in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts back in September. Irvin recorded three tackles in six games for Dallas. Kearse was signed off the Tennessee Titans practice squad in mid-December after the Cowboys waived defensive tackle Drake Nevis. In his two games with Dallas, Kearse recorded just one tackle.
So, as you can see, Dallas has a lot of question marks surrounding the middle of their defensive line. Which now brings us to the upcoming NFL Draft. Here are NFL.com’s Mike Mayok’s top five defensive tackles available in the draft, in descending order, and including my analysis of each as potential selections for the Dallas Cowboys: