NFL Dallas Cowboys

5 Players Dallas Cowboys Should Target in First Round of 2014 NFL Draft

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5 First-Round Targets for Dallas Cowboys in 2014 NFL Draft

Jerry Jones, NFL Draft
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off another disappointing season in 2013. Dallas now faces an offseason where they must maneuver money to get under the salary cap. When the team does get under the cap, they can attempt to sign a free agent or two. However, Cowboys fans should not hold their breath waiting for that to happen. If Dallas cannot improve their team through free agency, that only leaves one option: the NFL Draft.

Dallas has numerous positions on their roster that must be upgraded in order for them to be a true contender in 2014. This past season the defense was the worst in franchise history. The defensive line lacked depth and could be even thinner if Anthony Spencer or Jason Hatcher depart via free agency.

Another weak spot in the Cowboys defense was their secondary. Safety was a huge handicap for Dallas. While Barry Church was adequate at one safety position, at the other safety position both Jeff Heath and J. J. Wilcox allowed numerous big plays to the opposing offenses.

Defense is not the only side of the ball that the Cowboys will need to address in the draft. While the offense performed well at times in 2013, they could still use an upgrade at a few spots. One of those spots is along the offensive line. While Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick are young studs, the other three positions could be upgraded.

Dallas also could be in the market for a WR at some point in the draft as Miles Austin will likely be a salary cap causality. Dallas does have a nice group of wideouts with Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, but they do lack depth. If an injury were to occur, Dallas would have an issue.

With so many holes to fill, it is imperative that the Cowboys have a great draft. In order to have a great draft, you must have a great first-round pick. It is not enough to just pick the right position; they must also pick the right player.

With that being said, which players should the Cowboys be targeting with their first-round selection? Here are five players that I believe would be ideal selections for Dallas in the first-round.

Jeremy Martin is a Dallas Cowboys writer for Follow him on twitter @Jmartin1982Like him on facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Dee Ford, NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dee Ford is a DE out of Auburn with great athletic ability who consistently puts pressure on the QB. Those are things that the Cowboys have sorely missed the past few seasons. Ford would not fix every problem by himself, but he would be a great start.

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4. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Kony Elay, NFL Draft
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kony Ealy out of Missouri is another speed rusher that can get to the QB. He would be a great upgrade from what the Cowboys currently have along their defensive line.

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3. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald, NFL Draft
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Donald out of Pittsburgh is a bit undersized for a DT, but he has a motor that never stops. Dallas could not find a player who would give more effort than Donald. He is also a very good run-stopper.

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2. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Calvin Pryor, NFL Draft
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, there is a theme developing here. That theme is defense. Calvin Pryor is a safety out of Louisville who always seems to be around the ball. He would instantly bring credibility to the safety position that the Cowboys have been lacking for years.

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1. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

Timmy Jernigan, NFL Draft
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Timmy Jernigan is a “physical freak” out of Florida State. He is a DT who would be a force in the middle of the Cowboys' defensive line. It is tough to find big, athletic DTs who are equally good against the run and the pass. I believe that is what Jernigan is, and that is what the Cowboys need.