The Dallas Cowboys are in a decent position to finally improve on mediocrity.  Hopefully for “America’s Team” owner Jerry Jones will not get in the way.  The Cowboys have 11 total picks in the 2014 draft and have the opportunity to add playmakers and depth all in one draft.  While six of the picks are in the seventh and last round, they still have enough early picks, 16 and 47 overall, to get an immediate return on their investment.  Their biggest need is on the defensive side of the ball, particularly to protect against the passing game.  This is our seven round mock draft for the Cowboys’ 11 picks in this year’s draft.

Round 1 (16th overall):  Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

- Calvin Pryor is an immediate starter on the Cowboys’ defense and is a big time playmaker.  He is better at stopping the run than in passing situation.  Ideally he will get better with his feet to be better in coverage.  Pryor is not an ideal fit, and Aaron Donald will be gone by this point in the draft, so a good move would be to move down the draft, say to the 49ers 30th pick to grab a DE like Dony Ealy.  Assuming Donald is gone and no trades are made, Pryor is the best player on the board and will still have a week one impact.

Round 2 (47th overall):  Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville

– Smith was converted to defensive end from outside linebacker in 2011 and converted from quarterback when he entered college.  He played against some pro-level talent and produced the best sack per game average in NCAA last season at 1.12.  He has good balance and body control which improves his pass-rush ability.  Incredibly quick first move and great anticipation at the line, possibly from his time as a quarterback in Georgia prep.  He has good height at 6’3” but is underweight at 251 lbs.  Could play both linebacker and defensive end at the pro level as game develops in a still relatively new position.

Round 3 (78th overall):  Will Sutton, DT/DE, Arizona State

– Sutton is an interesting story of this draft.  Last year he would have been a sure first round pick.  In 2013 he added 40 lbs of bulk to make himself more appealing to NFL teams by being closer to ideal DE weight.  The extra, unhealthy weight hurt is strengths.  Before the weight gain Sutton had incredible burst and speed that allowed him to get through offensive linemen quickly and effectively.  The weight gain did force Sutton to improve his hand technique in the trenches.  Assuming a drafted Sutton gets closer to his 2012 explosive weight or turns his added weight into fast twitch muscle fibers, he becomes a steal in at the beginning part of the third round and will have an immediate impact for the terrible defensive line of the Cowboys.

Round 4 (119th overall):  Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA: 

The Cowboys go back to the well at UCLA and grab a much needed wide receiver.  Evans has very good hands and above average size.  His burst is the best in the draft, shown by having the fastest ten yard split time, and he “plucks” the ball out of the air making him a natural playmaker.  He would make a good compliment to Dez Bryant.  Being a possession receiver, Evans would allow Bryant to stretch the field a little more. 

Round 5 (158th overall):  David Fales, QB, San Jose State

- Any of the next six picks are interchangeable as the Cowboys have six out of 25 picks starting at 229.  The Cowboys will most certainly take a quarterback in this draft and Fales would be a wise option.  Romo has a tendency to turn the ball over, whether it is always his fault or not and Fales does the exact opposite.  He was the most accurate passer in college with a 72.5% completion percentage.  You cannot teach accuracy at the next level, so grabbing a QB that already has it is a bonus.  His arm strength is in question, but the Cowboys do not have a true burner for that to be much of an issue.

Round 7 (229th overall):  Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford

Round 7 (231st overall):  Jon Halapio, G, Florida

Round 7 (238th overall):  Brandon Dixon, CB, Northwest Missouri State

Round 7 (248th overall):  Reggie Jordan, TE, Missouri Western State

Round 7 (251st overall):  Torrence Allen, WR, West Texas A&M

Round 7 (254th overall):  Christian Martin, OL, Central Florida

The Cowboys have plenty of picks to add depth and impact to their roster.  Expect owner Jerry Jones to make a splash somewhere in this draft, whether it be trading up somewhere along the line to get a guy they love or making a pick out of excitement and not need.  If they draft well, we could see a whole new “America’s Team” on the field and dare we say, in the playoffs, in 2014.

Written by Nic Amanno.  Follow Nic on Twitter @ChicoAlum

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