NFL Mock Drafts are a ton of fun, especially if you’re team has a relatively high draft pick in the first round. The Dallas Cowboys hold the No. 14 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and the team has several needs that need to be addressed. Although safety is one of them, the Cowboys can’t afford to pass on guys like Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw and Stanford guard David DeCastro. That’s exactly what ESPN “draft expert” Mel Kiper is predicting, but he obviously doesn’t know the team very well.
In Kiper’s latest mock draft, he has the Cowboys taking Alabama safety Mark Barron with the 14th pick. However, he has Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, Upshaw and DeCastro still on the board. That won’t happen.
That’s not to say Barron wouldn’t be a playmaker; he’s a ball hawk that can tackle as well. The Cowboys do need help at safety, but the glaring needs at cornerback, outside linebacker and defensive end should take priority.
Barron would make an excellent addition to the Cowboys’ defense, but taking him would prevent the team from filling bigger, more gaping holes on that side of the ball. There’s no way the Cowboys will pass on Upshaw, DeCastro and Kirkpatrick. With Kirkpatrick’s recent marijuana charge now dropped, he very likely will be taken by Dallas if he’s still available at No. 14.
Now if those three players are gone by the time Dallas is on the board in the first round, then Barron would be an excellent choice. Like I said, he’s a great player and he would single-handedly improve the Cowboys’ pass defense tremendously. However, that aspect of the Cowboys’ game is in a dire need of a shutdown cornerback.
Now if Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signs a top-notch free agent cornerback or two and a marquee pass rusher before the end of April, then Dallas could consider taking Barron if Abram Elam isn’t re-signed. But here’s a little secret: Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes Elam, so he’ll probably be back regardless of his performance in 2011.
With Barry Church and Danny McCray both very capable safeties, the Cowboys are actually in fairly decent shape back there. Church could easily start in 2012 and perform better than Elam or Gerald Sensabaugh, so that makes Dallas even more inclined to draft a guy like Upshaw at No. 14.
Again, Barron is a phenomenal player and he’d look great with a star on his helmet, but the Cowboys have way bigger fish to fry in the 2012 NFL Draft. However, what Dallas needs and what will actually happen are two different stories…
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