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Thursday, April 3, 2014
Analyzing Kiper's Grade A draft: Cowboys

By Todd Archer

The Dallas Cowboys need defense and a lot of it after what happened in 2013. They have signed three defensive linemen in free agency, but they are not the complete solution for a turnaround in 2014.

In Mel Kiper Jr.’s Grade A draft Insider, he serves as the Cowboys' general manager, which some of you might like with your feelings for Jerry Jones. In it, Kiper understands just how far the Cowboys have to go on the defensive side of the ball.

Who is GM Kiper picking for the Cowboys?

Despite adding Henry Melton in free agency, Kiper selected Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald at No. 16 overall. There might be some overlap between Melton and Donald because they play the 3-technique, but Melton is basically on a one-year deal. If he does not play at a high level, the Cowboys are not likely to trigger the option on the deal to kick in the final three years of the contract.

The Cowboys have liked Donald from the beginning. He showed up well at the Senior Bowl. He tested well at the NFL scouting combine. He seems to be the perfect fit for Rod Marinelli’s defense.

In the second round, Kiper went with UCLA guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, another good pick because he fills a need and brings an attitude to the line. He will not be under pressure to play right away, but he will push last year’s starters Ronald Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau. The Cowboys have hit on their last two offensive line picks in Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick. Su’a-Filo could be another building block.

Kiper stayed in the trenches in the third round with Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton. If Sutton is a 3-technique, then maybe this is a little overkill. He was too heavy for his final year at Arizona State but has slimmed down leading up to the draft. He has pass-rush ability, which is a must for any high pick under Marinelli. He could be a situational interior rusher for the Cowboys in 2014 and grow into a role in 2015 and beyond.