Predicting the NFL Draft is a tough task on its own, but when you add in a wild card like Jerry Jones it becomes nearly impossible. With that said, we can look back at his history to get some feel as to which direction the Dallas Cowboys might go with the No. 16 pick in next week’s draft. For this exercise I went back to 1994, which most people believe was the first year Jerry started controlling the Cowboys draft. Let’s find out if we can predict the Cowboys’ first-round pick based solely on history.
Since 1994 Dallas has made 16 first-round selections. Let’s begin by eliminating the possibility of Dallas taking a QB. Quarterback is the only position that the Cowboys have not used a first-round pick on. In fact, history says it’s unlikely that Dallas will select an offensive player at any position. Of the 16 first-round picks since 1994, only five have been used on the offense.
That means eleven of them have been used on the defensive side of the ball. If Dallas does go defense, which position will they lean toward? Well based on history you can rule out safety and linebacker. Dallas has only drafted one safety in the first round and only twice have they chosen a linebacker. That leaves cornerback and defensive line. Dallas has taken three cornerbacks in round one, but that is two less than defensive line. Dallas has drafted five defensive linemen in the first round since 1994, and three of those have been chosen when Dallas’ pick was between 10 and 20.
So history says it is most likely Dallas will select a defensive lineman with their first pick, but which one will they select? When it comes to college football conferences that Dallas chooses their players from, there is one that edges out the rest. That conference is the SEC. Five of Dallas’ 16 first round picks have come from that conference.
So we have determined that the most likely scenario is Dallas will take a defensive lineman out of the SEC. That leaves us with a few possibilities. There are three SEC defensive linemen projected to go in the first round of the NFL Draft. One of those is Jadeveon Clowney, but he will be long gone by the time Dallas goes on the clock at 16. Another option is Dee Ford out of Auburn, but I believe he belongs at the end of the first round. That leaves us with the best option at 16: Kony Ealy out of Missouri.
Just for the record, I am not saying I think Dallas should pick Ealy with the 16th pick. I believe there will be better players available for Dallas to choose. What I am saying is that if we simply look at history, the most likely scenario is that when Roger Goodell steps to the podium and says “with the 16th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft” it will most likely be followed by the name of a defensive lineman from the SEC.