In the last seven years, six of the Dallas Cowboys top draft picks have made the pre-draft visit to Valley Ranch. With thirty of the nation’s top college prospects in or heading to Dallas between now and Wednesday, I thought I would evaluate five of the top names that are scheduled to meet with team officials this week. Those elite players include: UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward and Boise State linebacker DeMarcus Lawrence. As you can see, there will be a definite focus on defense in this upcoming draft for the Cowboys.
So, let’s start at the top…
Anthony Barr, Linebacker – UCLA
Considered by many to be a top ten pick, the Cowboys will be lucky to get a player like Barr in the draft. A linebacker at UCLA, Barr’s exceptional pass rush ability will make him a better hand-down, defensive end in the Cowboys current 4-3 defensive scheme. And his presence should replace the production Dallas will be missing without the recently departed DeMarcus Ware. In two years at UCLA, Barr recorded 103 tackles, 41.5 tackles for a loss, and 23.5 sacks.
The Pros: Barr could be the Cowboys dream defensive end to pair along with the newly acquired defensive tackle Henry Melton. Their addition could be the exact spark needed in the Cowboys lackluster pass rush to make this defensive engine go. Good character guy. Well respected.
The Cons: If a player like Barr drops to #16, you have to wonder why. But at that point in the first round, his potential reward outweighs the risk. Played Fullback first two seasons at UCLA.