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Thursday, April 10, 2014
Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Cowboys

By Todd Archer

The Dallas Cowboys' offseason mostly has been about improving a defense that finished last in the NFL in 2013.

They have a new defensive coordinator, Rod Marinelli. They said goodbye to DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. They have said hello to Henry Melton, Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain, but the work to improve remains.

In ESPN draft expert Todd McShay’s fourth mock draft Insider, he sticks with defense. You have to be an ESPN Insider to find out all his picks.

With the 16th pick in the first round, McShay has the Cowboys selecting Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, sticking with him for the second straight mock.

With Melton, the Cowboys have a three-technique that Marinelli requires in a successful defense, but Melton is on essentially a one-year deal. He has defensive tackle Aaron Donald going to the Chicago Bears with the No. 14 pick, so he sees Jernigan as a fit in Dallas.

But do the Cowboys see him as a fit? If the Cowboys view Jernigan more as a nose tackle without the required pass rush, then they are not likely to take him in the first round. Marinelli values quickness and pass-rush ability in his tackles, but a nose tackle is just a two-down player and the Cowboys want to have more value than that in the first round.

In the second round, McShay stuck with affecting the quarterback by taking Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu. He put up 22 sacks in his last two years to go with 27.5 tackles for loss. He fits more of the mold of a right defensive end, which the Cowboys need.

But the interesting note is that McShay had Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward on the board when the Cowboys picked. If Ward is there that would put the Cowboys in a tough spot because finding a safety is a need. If this scenario played out and the Cowboys pass on Ward, then you know they truly believe in J.J. Wilcox.