Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Beyond the first round: Safeties
By Todd Archer
Each day over the next 10 days, we will focus on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the Dallas Cowboys. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. Today we look at safeties.
Second round -- Jimmie Ward (Northern Illinois): He was one of the Cowboys' national visitors and could be a Day 1 starter. He led the defense with 92 tackles in 2013, but more importantly had seven interceptions and 10 breakups. The Cowboys need a ballhawking safety and getting one in the second round would be a boost.
Third round -- Dion Bailey (USC): This might be a little high for Bailey, but he had a team-high four interceptions when Monte Kiffin was his defensive coordinator in 2012 and followed that up with five picks and six pass breakups in 2013. A tad short (6-0, 201) but he is active. He also had 62 tackles last season.
Fourth round -- Tre Boston (North Carolina): A converted cornerback he had 13 interceptions for his career and led the defense with 85 tackles. He is still learning the position and can get out of control at times. He could need time to develop, but that's the case with most mid-round picks.
Fifth round -- Ed Reynolds (Stanford): His father was a linebacker for the New England Patriots. He is intelligent and has the build for the position. He was an All-Pac-12 pick and only intercepted one pass in 2013. He returned three of his interceptions for touchdowns in his career. Did not play in 2011 because of a torn ACL but rebounded nicely.
Sixth round -- Brock Vereen (Minnesota): He was an All-Big Ten cornerback but has safety skills. He also has genes. His brother, Shane, is a running back for the Patriots. A little short but not afraid to come up and make a play in the run game. His corner skills allow him to track receivers and tight ends down the field.
Seventh round -- Vinnie Sunseri (Alabama): There is a medical concern about him coming off a torn ACL, but he is a coach's kid and has learned the game from an early age. He had 105 tackles in his career at Alabama and returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns. He was something of a glue player on a defense filled with talent.