After a wild first round, that included the Dallas Cowboys passing on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for the safer pick of Notre Dame OT Zack Martin, the second and third rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft are scheduled for Friday night. Dallas currently owns the No. 47 and No. 78 picks overall in these two rounds. And the team has yet to address their biggest glaring issue: defense. They will certainly correct that tonight. And here’s a list of the best available players I believe the Cowboys could target.
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: Still a project and will need time to develop, many experts believe Ealy is the best defensive end available.
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State: A name that has been rising up draft boards, Lawrence is a bit of a tweener that can flat out get after the quarterback.
Scott Critchton, DE, Oregon State: A Rod Marinelli that never gives up and will fight for every inch getting to the passer.
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech: Another late rising name, Attaochu was rumored to possibly be a first round selection. Again, a highly touted edge rusher.
Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame: Coming off an injury hurt Nix, but this big fella was seen as the most talented defensive tackle in the draft at one time. Because of his size he’s seen as a better nose in a 3-4 defense.
Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: In many experts eyes, Hageman is a high risk, high reward prospect. His off-the-field issues and disappearance on it aside, his physical abilities are unquestioned.
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: Many don’t see him as a good fit in Dallas as he’d be limited to the one-technique. Jernigan also lacks ideal size, but has a ton of potential. Some experts even had him slated to the Cowboys with their first overall pick.
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU: Van Noy is a versatile linebacker many are high on. Earlier in the offseason, he was projected to go in the first round right after Ryan Shazier.
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: The son of Dallas Cowboys great Jim Jeffcoat belongs in Dallas. It would only be right. Seen by many as more of a situational pass rusher then an every down defensive end, Jeffcoat might be a better selection in the fourth or fifth. Just don’t think he’d last that long.
Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford: Has all the attributes you are looking for in an edge rusher. Not sure how much he can improve.
DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State: Jones’ measurables are off the charts. His fit in the Cowboys 4-3 would be the biggest question.
Stan Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: A tall cornerback with long arms, Jean-Baptiste could be converted to safety in Dallas as he lack the needed top end speed to stay with faster NFL receivers.
Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State: The best safety available as Ward and Bucannon were surprisingly taken in the first round. The intangibles are there for Brooks, but he needs work on his tackling consistency.
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana (Grade: 88): A good fit for a West Coast offense with his size, toughness and instincts. Latimer possesses great ball skills and good straight-line speed.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame (Grade: 89): He’s a top-15 prospect in this draft based purely on talent, as he has a unique combo of size and straight-line speed and the versatility to play different positions in multiple fronts. Needs to show much more consistent effort.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC: Lee should not be there when the Cowboys pick in the second round, as he was a projected first round pick. His monster numbers from two years ago should see him pick early in day two. His lack of top speed and last years numbers obviously hurt his stock.
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Mel Kiper called Matthews his sleeper wide receiver in this draft. A tall kid that had good production at Vandy, is an excellent route-runner and can get you yards after the catch.
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: Overshadowed by Odell Beckham Jr., Landry is one of the toughest wideouts in this draft. The kid plays with no fear and has excellent ball skills.
Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson: Invited to Dallas for a private workout, Breeland could be a nice sleeper pick for the Cowboys. Good, not great, across the board. Breeland could compete with Morris Claiborne.
Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty: An unheralded corner who was also a private workout for the Cowboys, Aikens is a good run supporter with a big frame. Off-the-field issues believed to be in the past.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: This is who the Cowboys wanted Gavin Escobar to be. A big bruiser of a blocker who is willing to get nasty in the trenches with surprising good hands. He was also had a private workout in Dallas.