Evaluating Five of The Dallas Cowboys Top Pre-Draft Visitors

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Dec 27, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Nick Florence (11, left) is pressured by UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11, right) in the 2012 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

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…

Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11) walks off the field after winning the 2013 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. UCLA defeated Virginia Tech 42-12. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Dallas Cowboys Pre-Draft Visitors

  • Old Frog

    Yet another writer who refuses to acknowledge O line is a need and a possibility in the first round.

  • BradAustin

    Of the 30 visitors coming in this week, only 2 are OL. OT Billy Turner is a 2nd to 3rd rounder and not worth mentioning in his article about “5 of the Top Visitors”. And OT/G Zack Martin was added to the list later this morning, likely after this article was written. Doubt he was disregarding the need at OL, Instead, he did a fine job with the information available at the time the article was written. Those familiar with the 5 players he mentioned would realize he’s mostly on the mark with their evaluation.

  • BradAustin

    For the record, I’d be thrilled if we selected OT/G Zack Martin at 16. I’m sure most writers here realize his high value and what he could provide for our team. There will be plenty of starting defensive talent in the 2nd and 3rd round of this draft. I’m not all that high on Barr, Ealy, or Jernigan at 16. I see certain traits in their play I just don’t like in defenders. Basically it’s a lack of true aggression or nastiness.

    Donald is a flat out stud, I love DeMarcus Lawrence’s game, and Jimmie Ward is a great choice also. Those 3 guys all bring the heat with aggression and toughness. Now that we got rid of the softer, quiet vets we had for so long, I want confident, brash, rough players on defense. Guys that want to rock your world every time you come near them and will tell you it’s coming. Hunters.

  • Jamal Ferrell

    Trade up two spots to get Aaron Donald or Ha-Ha, if not trade down for two or three extra picks , go D-line for the 1st 6 rounds. Then OT , Safety, WR, RB, OT, One of those 6 foot DBs, we need Depth and have enough picks for that.

  • CowboysWin

    no trade ups. Take Donald if there (unless he’s lost 20 lbs like this article states – 265 DT???) If not, look to trade back but if no takers, Jernigan, Nix, and Martin all are very good consoliation prizes. Jernigan is very young and seems to be underappreciated by many. The 2nd has so many good players on OL, DE, and WR, it could be hard to screw it up – which is why they need to tie Jerry to the car and refuse the “look at me” attitude this draft. Great talent and 11 picks means this is going to be the best draft in a decade!