Mock drafts: Cowboys could pick lineman
With the first round less than a month away, one would think the mock draft experts would be coming closer to a consensus on what the Cowboys will do with the 14th overall pick. But that's not close to being reality.
The only aspect that is consistent among the educated guesses is that Jerry Jones will be deciding between a defensive player and an offensive lineman.
The safety and cornerback hype appears to have calmed and the focus has shifted to either a somewhat new possibility in LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers or one that has been considered since most mock drafts began in January, Stanford offensive guard David DeCastro.
Here is the latest update.
NationalFootballPost.com's Wes Bunting
Pick: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU.
Comment: "Brockers is as talented as any defensive lineman in the draft and is capable of maturing into a real game changer up front. He's got the ability to play all over the Cowboys defensive line early and offers them a lot of versatility in their 34 front."
CBSSports.com's Rob Rang
Comment: "The Cowboys awarded free agent Brandon Carr a $50 million contract in free agency but with depth a concern in a division featuring Eli Manning, Michael Vick and soon-to-be Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, cornerback remains a key area of need. Gilmore has the size, athleticism and physicality to be a standout in Rob Ryan's aggressive scheme."
NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler
Pick: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford.
Comment: "The Cowboys added a pair of guards in free agency (Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau), but need to continue and add depth on the interior of the offensive line. DeCastro isn't a flashy, household name, but the smash-mouth blocker might be the best guard prospect to enter the league in the past decade. Despite starting all 39 games in his collegiate career at right guard, NFL teams believe he can also be just as effective at left guard or center."
SportingNews.com's Russ Lande
Comment: "Brockers is great fit as a power defensive end in the Cowboys' 3-4 scheme and would help DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer pressure the quarterback."
DraftCountdown.com's Scott Wright
Pick: Mark Barron, S, Alabama.
Comment: "The Cowboys have had major issues at safety for nearly a decade and it might finally be time to do something about it. ... He would likely be the best safety that Dallas has had since Darren Woodson."
Second round: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State.
Comment: "Hybrid pass rusher in the mold of Brooks Reed [Houston Texans] to bolster less than stellar linebacker depth."
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks
Pick: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama.
Comment: "The Cowboys added a big-time cornerback in Brandon Carr during free agency, but that won't preclude the team from taking another cover man in the draft. Kirkpatrick possesses the athleticism and length to match up with the elite receivers in the NFC, and his toughness on the edge will improve the unit's performance against the run and pass."
SI.com's Don Banks
Pick: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama.
Comment: "The Cowboys have to like their position, because they're going to be in line to fill a need no matter which direction they go. Safety Mark Barron or guard David DeCastro would be solid picks, but in Upshaw they get another edge pass-rush talent to plug into their 3-4 defense."
Pick: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis.
Comment: "The Cowboys had the option of picking J.J. Watt at No. 9 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. They went with Tyron Smith, who has been great thus far, but they're hurting at the defensive end position as a consequence. Kenyon Coleman should not be starting anymore. Dallas could draft Dontari Poe in this spot and then move Jay Ratliff over to defensive end. The Cowboys are reportedly smitten with Poe, so he would be a likely pick if he dropped to No. 14."
1. Quinton Coples or Fletcher Cox, DE/DT - Jerry Jones may not want to pass on Coples if he falls to them. Coples fits well into the 3-4 and might be the Cowboys' top available prospect.
2. Mark Barron, SS - Signing Brodney Pool has not fixed Dallas' problem at strong safety.
NFL Network's Chad Reuter
Comment: "Signing free agents Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau shored up the interior offensive line, but Jerry Jones might consider DeCastro the best player available -- and ensuring the health of quarterback Tony Romo should be a priority."
CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan
Comment: "The Cowboys like big people on their line. Brockers fits the mold even though he was work to do after recording just two sacks last year. Maybe Leon Lett can get more out of him. Second round No. 45 -- Amini Silatolu, OL Midwestern State."
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco
Pick: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia.
Comment: "They have tried to fill the guard spots in free agency, but this is a step up from the guys they've signed. Glenn is a mauler."
CBSSports.com's Clark Judge
Comment: "He might not get this far, but if he does I can't see him getting past the Cowboys. Once a cornerback made sense; then the Cowboys signed Brandon Carr."
CBSSports.com's Will Brinson
Comment: "Jerry Jones recently called his offensive line "compromised" and referred to it as "bankrupt" prior to drafting Tyron Smith and signing Doug Free. What a ringing endorsement! DeCastro would be a starter from the, um, start."
Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota