After releasing All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware last month, Dallas biggest needs have become edge rushers. Barr fits that bill nicely for the Cowboys, as the talented young prospect has been compared to Ware in that respect. Another defensive end prospect linked to the Cowboys first round pick is Missouri’s Kony Ealy. But I believe Ealy is too much of a project for Dallas to take at No. 16, as they need a player who is a Day One starter and can make an immediate impact. Many believe Barr is that player.
The other option would be rising star Aaron Donald. The Cowboys, and every other team in the league apparently, have been raving about this kid since his stellar performance during Senior Bowl practices. As a senior at Pitt, Donald won every defensive player award imaginable. And his stock is now at an all time high after his impressive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. Not only is his stock up, but so is the hype surrounding him. Donald went from a second round pick before the Senior Bowl to, what one best AFC executive calls him, the best D-lineman to come out in the last 10 years!
If either of these players are available at No. 16, along with Manziel, I believe Jerry Jones baulks on drafting the quarterback. But the chances are all three players will be long gone before Dallas makes their pick. If so, the Cowboys front office will be in a real pickle since there probably won’t be many players available truly worthy of being selected that high.
I’m sure many will argue that Notre Dame offensive guard Zach Martin or top safeties Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor would be suitable first round selections. But the fact that Martin is the fourth best lineman in this draft probably means he will not be at the top of the Cowboys draft board when they get to that pick. And as the second round selection of tight end Gavin Escobar in 2013 proves, the Cowboys will probably go with best player available over need that high in the draft.
And as far as the safety position is concerned, I don’t believe the Cowboys think that have a big need there. From all accounts, it appears they genuinely like J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath and Matt Johnson. And they will give those three young players every opportunity to improve and impress this offseason in order to win that starting role next to veteran Barry Church. Plus, history shows us the Cowboys just don’t like taking safeties in the first round.
And let’s not discount the fact of how deep this draft supposedly is. There seem to be a massive amount of talented players who would fill the Cowboys needs perfectly who are available in the later rounds. Names like Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton, Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson, Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III, Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward and many, many more.
In fact, the best thing for the Cowboys to do would be to get more picks in the second and third rounds. Unfortunately, I think every NFL team is thinking the same thing. So, it’s going to cost everyone more to do so.