Mock draft roundup: Missouri defensive lineman Kony Ealy a popular pick for the Dallas Cowboys

Defensive Lineman Kony Ealy (47)

Last week I posted a photo gallery of the 10 players the Dallas Cowboys could consider with their first-round pick.

Those 10 included nine defensive linemen and one safety. Most of those same players were also mentioned when gathering what NFL draft experts are predicting for the Cowboys in their early mock drafts.

Many would agree that Dallas simply needs to spend its first pick on the best defensive lineman available. It’s unlikely that Anthony Spencer and Jason Hatcher will both be back next season, DeMarcus Ware’s best years are likely behind him and the Cowboys desperately need a young defender up front to pair with Tyrone Crawford as building blocks for the future.

The Cowboys didn’t draft a defensive lineman last year. They need to come away with a couple this time around.

Here’s what the experts have been forecasting in their mock drafts.’s Todd McShay:

Pick: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame.

Comment: "They need D-line help in a very bad way, and I think Tuitt would be an interesting fit. He makes the most sense as a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 alignment, but given his athleticism and quickness I feel as though he could also work as a 3-technique D-tackle who gets up the field and disrupts."’s Rob Rang:

Pick: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri.

Comment: "Adding a versatile and athletic edge rusher like Ealy would go a long way towards adding some danger to the Dallas defense."’s Dane Brugler:

Pick: Ealy.

Comment: "Ealy isn’t a ‘big name’ but he’s a talented pass rusher who has the tools to garner first-round attention."’s Chris Burke:

Pick: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame.

Comment: "The massive 340-pound tackle simply plugs up the middle, be it from the 1-tech or directly over the center. Impending free agent Jason Hatcher may be on his way out, so finding Nix here could be even more of a boon."’s Matt Miller:

Pick: Benardrick McKinney, DE, Mississippi State.

Comment: "Whether the Cowboys will run a 4-3 or 3-4 defense in 2014 remains to be seen, but by adding a pass-rushing prodigy like McKinney, they have scheme versatility and a ton of speed up front."’s Scott Wright:

Pick: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State.

Comment: "Jernigan is slightly undersized but extremely quick, athletic and explosive, profiling as a prototypical disruptive three-technique. Perhaps Jernigan can be for Monte Kiffin in Dallas what Warren Sapp was for him in Tampa Bay."’s Walter Cherepinsky:

Pick: Ealy.

Comment: "Despite having DeMarcus Ware on the roster, the Cowboys inexplicably finished in the bottom 10 of sacks this season. Ware playing hurt was a problem, but there’s no one else who could consistently get to the quarterback."’s Eric Galko:

Pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama.

Comment: "The Cowboys had the NFL’s worst secondary last season, thanks to a poorly designed scheme by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and lackluster talent at safety. Clinton-Dix addresses the latter need and is best in class."’s Matthew Fairburn:

Pick: Tuitt.

Comment: "The defensive line is a big issue for the Cowboys, and having a player like Tuitt who can play multiple positions would be a big bonus for them."

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