Dallas Cowboys: Justin Ellis

Beyond the first round: Defensive tackles

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
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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 after the first 32 picks. We open the series with defensive tackles.

Second round, Dominique Easley (Florida): If not for health concerns, he would be a first-round pick. He tore both anterior cruciate ligaments in college, and teams will be concerned about his long-term viability. The Cowboys have shown a willingness to take a chance on injured players in the past, and Easley could be the type of disruptive defensive lineman Rod Marinelli craves.

[+] EnlargeDaQuan Jones
Pat Lovell/USA TODAY SportsAt 6-foot-4 and 322 pounds, Penn State's Daquan Jones would fit Dallas' 4-3 scheme.
Third round, Daquan Jones (Penn State): At 6-foot-4, 322 pounds, he is ideally suited to be the one technique in the Cowboys’ 4-3 defense. He is strong and can control the interior against the run. He has strong hands that allow him to dictate the action. He has some pass-rush, skills but his fit here would be as a two-down player as a rookie.

Fourth round, Caraun Reid (Princeton): A Princeton coach in Jason Garrett, drafting a Princeton player. Perfect. Reid, however, has ability and scheme flexibility. He is more of a three-technique with his quickness and ability to work in short areas. He helped himself at the Senior Bowl against better competition to show teams he can make the jump in levels.

Fifth round, Justin Ellis (La. Tech): He is just a massive player at 6-1, 334 pounds. He is the prototype nose tackle, which is OK for a fifth rounder. His ability to hold up in the middle would help the linebackers flow to the plays. He had 48 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss last season. Some off-field concerns, but he would bring size the Cowboys need in the middle.

Sixth round, Kerry Hyder (Texas Tech): He was among the national visitors to Valley Ranch. He is an active player with a nose for the ball. A second-team All Big 12 pick, he had 65 tackles, 11.5 for a loss, two sacks, five hurries, three forced fumbles, two blocked kicks, two hurries and one pass breakup. He started his final 38 games.

Seventh round, Chris Whaley (Texas): He arrived in Austin as a running back, but moved to the defensive line. Maybe he could be another Henry Melton, who did the same with the Longhorns. He missed the final four games last season with a knee injury, but he had four tackles for loss, two sacks an interception and 23 tackles.

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