W2W4: The primer for the Cowboys draft

May, 8, 2014
5/08/14
9:00
AM ET
Well, the NFL draft is finally here. And we have a preview of what the Dallas Cowboys might do over the next three days.

The picks, the picks, the picks: The Cowboys have 11 picks, tied for the third-most in the league this year and the team's second-most in the last 20 years; the Cowboys had 12 picks in 2009. The seventh round will be interesting for the Cowboys because they own six selections in the round. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said there's a value in those picks either via trade or just by selecting a prospect.

Who will Dallas pick in the first round? The mock drafts are in, and here's what people are saying.
  • Todd Archer, ESPN: Zack Martin, tackle/guard, Notre Dame
  • Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas: Martin
  • Mel Kiper, ESPN: Calvin Pryor, safety Louisville
  • Todd McShay, ESPN: Martin
  • Peter King, MMQB: Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle, Florida State
  • Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Jernigan
  • Rob Rang, CBS Sports: Jernigan
  • Pat Kirwan, CBS Sports: Cowboys trade up for Minnesota's pick and draft Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald at No. 8
  • Mike Mayock, NFL Network: Anthony Barr, linebacker, UCLA
  • Bucky Bucks, NFL Network: Barr
  • Charley Casserly, NFL Network: Barr
Will they draft a quarterback?: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ruled out drafting a quarterback in the first round because he didn't want to invest the money and value of a first-round pick on someone who is going to sit behind Tony Romo for at least two more seasons. Cowboys officials believe Romo is in his prime despite coming off his second back surgery in less than a year. If the Cowboys draft a quarterback, it will happen in the middle rounds.

What are the needs?: Defense, defense, defense. Yes, the Cowboys signed three defensive linemen and two quarterbacks in free agency, but finding an edge pass-rusher in the 4-3 scheme is important. If the team doesn't believe it has a free safety on the roster, getting somebody there helps. The starting wide receivers are Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, and there are no expectations the team will sign a veteran. Cowboys like some of the receivers in this year's draft and might spend a midround pick on one. The interior of the offensive line may need an upgrade, and that's where Martin comes in. He could be drafted to play guard and then move to tackle in his second season.

Trades in the first round: The Cowboys have made a trade in the first round the past two drafts. Last year they traded down to eventually select center Travis Frederick, and then they got Williams in the third round. In 2012, the Cowboys moved up to get cornerback Morris Claiborne with the sixth pick overall.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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