2012 BGN Community Mock Draft Pick #14: The Dallas Cowboys

Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox does a footwork drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

With the fourteenth pick in the 2012 BGN Community Mock Draft, JimmyK selects...

Fletcher Cox: DT, Mississippi State

The Cowboys don't lack for star players, but when you analyze their roster as a whole, you also realize that they don't lack for glaring holes either. Prior to free agency, at my blog, I identified the Cowboys' team needs. I get into more depth on each position there, but for those of you that prefer the Cliff's Notes, I identified them as follows:

  • Offense: Interior OL (all 3 spots), Swing tackle, backup QB, #3 WR, #2 TE
  • Defense: CB, DE, S, OLB, ILB

The Cowboys were busy in free agency this year. A quick list of their signings and how they affect the team needs above:

  • CB Brandon Carr: Enormous upgrade over Terence Newman, who was abysmal in 2011. The Cowboys could still look at CB, since Mike Jenkins is scheduled to become a free agent in 2013.
  • ILB Dan Connor: Excellent fit for their defense, gives them some flexibility in not rushing 2011 2nd round pick Bruce Carter onto the field. Not really a need anymore.

More after the jump...

  • OG's Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau: Livings is an inconsistent player that the Cowboys overpaid. Bernadeau is a former starter in Carolina, lost his starting job last season. He has some upside, but so far is unproven. These are not "solutions," in my opinion, although the Cowboys may think they are. They need to be careful not to overrate their FA signings. If David DeCastro is still on the board (in this case he's not), they would be wise to jump all over him.
  • QB Kyle Orton: No longer a need.
  • S Brodney Pool: Pool is a below average safety that nobody else had serious interest in. This remains a pretty significant need.
  • FB Lawrence Vickers: Wasn't a need initially. Vickers is in, Tony Fiametta is out.

Because they have so many holes, there's a pretty good chance that when they're on the clock at 14, the best available player on their board will probably match up with one of the biggest team needs listed above. In this case, that player is Fletcher Cox, who can either play DT in a 4-3 or DE in a 3-4.

I like a couple of the Cowboys' DE's, Sean Lissemore and Jason Hatcher, especially since the Cowboysemploy both players on the cheap. But those guys are role players, in my opinion. Marcus Spears isdone, or at least he should be, and Kenyon Coleman is very much "just a guy." The lasting image I have of the Cowboys DL is Jason Peters bullying them up and down the field. Anyway, at some point the Cowboys have to address this spot a little more seriously, right?

In previous years, the Cowboys didn't ask their DE's to do much more than eat up blocks, partly because they didn't have the ability to do much more than that. Cox isn't that kind of player. His strength is not taking on double teams and freeing up the LB's behind him to gobble up tackles. That doesn't mean he can't do that. It's just not one of his strengths. He's most effective when he's shooting gaps and getting into the backfield, which is something the Cowboys haven't had at that position in... well... I can't really remember the last 3-4 DE they had that actually, you know, made plays.

Cox gives the Cowboys an instant upgrade along their DL, both in their base 3-4 set, and as an interior pass rusher when they go with 4 down linemen on obvious passing downs.

Next on the clock will be last year's champion, outsyderz34, with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Previous Picks: #1 Andrew Luck, #2 Robert Griffin III, #3 Morris Claiborne, #4 Trent Richardson, #5 Matt Kalil, #6 Justin Blackmon, #7 Melvin Ingram, #8 Ryan Tannehill, #9 Michael Floyd, #10 Dre Kirkpatrick, #11 David DeCastro, #12 Courtney Upshaw, #13 Luke Kuechly

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