Dallas Cowboys: NFL Combine Provides New Targets For 2014 NFL Draft
Dallas Cowboys: NFL Combine Provides New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft
The NFL Combine is over and the Dallas Cowboys will now look forward to the NFL Draft in May. The NFL Combine was an interesting one. Some players improved their draft stock, while others hurt theirs. How did it affect the Cowboys’ draft plans? Which players moved up, and which players moved down their draft board?
While Jerry Jones was on his bus holding court with the media, hopefully the coaches were inside the stadium watching and taking notes. Dallas knew the holes they had to fill heading into the Combine, but now they have a better idea of which players might best fill those holes.
The main focus for the Cowboys’ coaches had to be on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas’ defense needs either a starter or depth at virtually every position. While it is tough to choose which position of need ranks the highest, I think most would agree it is the defensive line.
The Cowboys’ defensive line was the weakest part of the team last season, and 2014’s defensive line could prove even less talented. Anthony Spencer and Jason Hatcher are almost locks to be gone, and there is still a chance Demarcus Ware will be a cap casualty. I believe Dallas needs to select multiple defensive linemen in the upcoming draft.
Dallas also needs help in the secondary. They can likely get by with Barry Church as one starting safety, but they can not afford to go into the season with Jeff Heath or J.J. Wilcox at the other safety position.
Dallas also needs to look at LB in the draft. Injury prone Sean Lee has yet to play a full season and Bruce Carter has been an up and down player at best. Ernie Sims, another LB, could be cut due to the salary cap situation. Dallas might need to draft a starting LB, but there is also no doubt they need to draft depth at the position.
With all the needs, it probably was not too hard to find players that they liked at the Combine. The problem may be deciding which ones to take. They have a few months to decide that, but here are five players that I believe the Cowboys are high on coming out of the Combine.
5. Deone Bucannon, S
The top two safeties are going to go in the first round and both would be good fits, but Dallas might choose to address the DL with their first pick. If they go that route, then Deone Bucannon out of Washington State might be a good choice in round three. At 6-foot-3, and 215 pounds, Bucannon ran a 4.53-40 at the Combine.
4. Jonathan Dowling, S
If Dallas doesn’t get a safety in the early rounds, they should consider taking a flyer on Jonathan Dowling in the late rounds. Dowling is a small school player out of Western Kentucky, but managed to turn a few heads at the Combine. Look for him to possibly make his way up to a middle round selection before all is said and done.
3. Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB
Kevin Pierre-Louis out of Boston College was not on a lot of people’s radar before the Combine, but he will be now. Pierre-Lewis ranked towards the top of the LB group in every drill at the Combine.
2. Aaron Donald, DL
Aaron Donald was already squarely in the crosshairs of the Cowboys’ coaches and scouts, but after the Combine I have to believe he is at the top of their want list. Donald would fit the Cowboys’ scheme perfectly. The only question now is will he be there when the Cowboys pick at No. 16?
1. Jackson Jeffcoat, DL
The name Jeffcoat will sound familiar to many older Cowboys’ fans. Jackson Jeffcoat’s father, Jim, was an anchor on the defensive line of the 90s Super Bowl winning teams. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree either. Jackson is a big, strong, athletic DE that can both get to the QB and stop the run. He had a good Combine. If the Cowboys are lucky, he might be there for them to choose in round two.