The answer is about to be revealed. Who the Dallas Cowboys will select with their first pick in this year’s draft is anyone’s guess still, but the guessing will end in approximately four days and eleven hours. Will the Cowboys go offense or defense? If it’s offense, will it be a lineman or a wide receiver? If it’s defense, will the choice be one that fortifies the line, the linebacker corps or the secondary? So many questions… So many possibilities…
Let’s take an educated guess at narrowing down the field to see who could possibly be putting on that blue ball cap and shaking the Commissioner’s hand as the sixteenth player drafted on Thursday.
If the choice is on the offensive side of the ball, the likelihood is that the pick will either be lineman Zack Martin from Notre Dame or wide receiver Mike Evans from Texas A&M. Evans’ teammate, you may have heard of… Johnny Manziel would be a very unlikely possibility but I suppose since the buzz is palpable, we’ll mention it strictly for due diligence.
Within the Martin vs. Evans dynamic, there is really no mystery. The only way Martin would be the pick over Evans is if Evans is not available… which is most likely going to be the case. Tampa Bay is supposedly licking their chops with the seventh pick to draft Evans and even if that is just a smoke screen, Buffalo at eight and St. Louis at thirteen would be perfect fits for the 6’5″ target. Martin would be the choice if the defensive guys that are most needed are also gone and it comes down to him against the second or third tier alternatives that we’ll name in a second.
IF Manziel is there at sixteen, I would hope Dallas would look to move out of the slot, acquire more picks and fleece a team looking for a big splash. Arizona with the 20th pick might think long and hard about upgrading over Carson Palmer. Another intriguing option could be Cleveland if they pass on Manziel with the fourth overall pick. Could the Cowboys and Browns work a deal that allows Dallas to trade down ten picks in an effort to acquire Cleveland’s fourth pick in the second round?
This is where the prognosticating gets difficult. There as many as eight players that could be selected by the Cowboys depending on how the draft shakes out in front of them. The easiest way to look at it is by breaking down these guys into tiers.
On the first tier, you have Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald and UCLA OLB/DE Anthony Barr. Clearly if either of these two guys were available the Cowboys would be ecstatic.
The second tier is made up of safeties (Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix from Alabama and Calvin Pryor from Louisville) and lineman that I would consider to be a reach at pick sixteen in Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan and Missouri DE Kony Ealy. A pair of linebackers (C.J. Mosley from Alabama and Ryan Shazier from Ohio State) also find themselves in this mix.