Mock draft roundup: Popular pick for Cowboys is ‘talented as they come’ DE

Kony Ealy

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

A mock draft roundup roughly four months before the first pick is selected usually means the opinions are going to be all over the board. And that has been the case recently. Of the 13 mocks included below, eight different players are projected to be the Dallas Cowboys’ first-round pick.

The one thing all the experts have in common is that they believe the Cowboys will focus on defense. Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy was a popular choice during our previous roundup and that hasn’t changed.

The Cowboys’ biggest need is on the defensive line, but a play-making safety on the back end could be the choice if that’s the best value option in the middle of the first round.

Here are the latest projections.’s Bucky Brooks:

Pick: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri.

Comment: "Jerry Jones has been known to gamble on a player with significant upside. Ealy is as talented as they come, but his production doesn’t match his athleticism at this point."’s Charles Davis:

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

Comment: "The safety position has been an issue for years in Dallas."’s Matt Smith:

Pick: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville.

Comment: "Safety is a major concern as explosive plays really took the top off their unit. They’d love Clinton-Dix. but he’s already gone."’s Peter Schrager:

Pick: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo.

Comment: "He has a bit of a past and that could haunt him in the interview process, but his talent is top-10 worthy. The Dallas pass rush left a lot to be desired in 2013. Let Mack learn from DeMarcus Ware."’s Eric Edholm:

Pick: Clinton-Dix.

Comment: "Clinton-Dix is the type of size-speed combo and big-school pedigree that Jerry Jones loves, and he’d pencil in as a Day 1 starter."’s Matthew Fairburn:

Pick: Ra’Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota (Traded back with New England to No. 29).

Comment: "On one hand, he’s physically imposing and has a combination of get off and strength that will appeal to most teams. … However, he plays without much technique and will have some people concerned over his history off the field."’s Rob Rang:

Pick: Ealy.

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 Mel Kiper:

Pick: Clinton-Dix.

Comment: "I don’t see a decent free safety solution on the Cowboys’ roster, and good ones typically don’t make it to free agency, so this pick lines up need and board value pretty effectively."’s Eric Galko:

Pick: Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU.

Comment: "Safety is certainly an option, but finding an upfield 3-technique rusher like Anthony Johnson could force quarterbacks off balance, leading to turnovers for the Dallas defensive backs."’s Walter Cherepinsky:

Pick: Nix.

Comment: "Nix can fit in either defense, so he would make lots of sense just in case Jerry Jones wants to eventually move back to the 3-4."’s Scott Wright:

Pick: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame.

Comment: "It’s imperative that the Cowboys add at least one difference maker up front. Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt is an impressive physical specimen who has shown the ability to make an impact against the run and pass."

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