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Mel Kiper goes with DeForest Buckner to Cowboys in first mock

Oregon DE DeForest Buckner had 10.5 sacks last season, including the bowl game. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

IRVING, Texas -- The draft isn’t until April but it is never too early for mock draft season.

ESPN Insider Mel Kiper has his first mock draft available and he has the Dallas Cowboys taking Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner.

Thinking about a defensive end in that spot is wise. The Cowboys need pass rushers even with taking DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory in the second round of the last two drafts. Greg Hardy is a free agent. Jeremy Mincey is a free agent. Jack Crawford is a free agent.

Buckner had 10.5 sacks last season, including the bowl game. He has what teams look for in pass rushers at 6-foot-7, 290 pounds and what Kiper called a high motor.

But when I look at the rest of Kiper’s mock draft, I wonder if the Cowboys would go another way, specifically to wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.

Kiper had the San Francisco 49ers taking Treadwell with the seventh overall pick. Why would the Cowboys use such a high pick on another receiver? While they believe Dez Bryant will come back from his second foot surgery without any problem, there is no guarantee. Terrance Williams is going into the final year of his contract. And it would help Tony Romo.

There are many more months to debate the topic and many more mock drafts to come.

The Cowboys will have options and a pass rusher will be near the top of their list, but is there a Khalil Mack-type among this year’s class?