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2014 NFL Draft Handicapping Tips – Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys saw another playoff spot slip away from them in a Week 17 heartbreaker. Tony Romo wasn’t around for that final game, though he will be back in time for the start of the regular season.

The team around him won’t look much different, though the team has a chance to bring in a quality player with the 16th pick in the draft. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones will have the team’s defensive line at the front of his mind on Thursday, and that could be where the pick is spent.

Dallas Cowboys (8-8)

Draft picks (by round)

Round 1 – 16
Round 2 – 47
Round 3 – 78
Round 4 – 119
Round 5 – 158
Round 7 – 229, 231, 238, 248, 251, 254

Here are five things to expect from the Cowboys on draft day:

Cowboys 2014 NFL Draft Predictions

They draft a defensive lineman in the first round

Pitt’s Aaron Donald could be the guy. He was the best defensive tackle in the nation this past season. The Cowboys know how impactful an interior defender can be after years of watching Jay Ratliff play the game.

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The team’s recent first round picks have been strong, though skewed towards the offense, and it’s the defense that needs a boost this year, after an embarrassing 2013 campaign.

They trade up in the first round
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Donald likely doesn’t get past the Bears at No. 14, so Jones could look to move up ahead of that spot. Alternatively, he could have his eye on someone else, and the asking price for moving up this year could actually be reasonable, given that most teams are looking to trade down.

They pick no more than one offensive skill position player

It’s tempting to say they won’t pick one at all, but a running back in the late rounds isn’t entirely out of the question. The team seems set at most of those positions. Lance Dunbar proved a worthy backup to DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams really emerged at wide receiver alongside Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, and Jason Witten keeps humming along with a caddy already in tow in Gavin Escobar.

Jason Garrett’s offense hasn’t changed much from year to year, though they’re expected to lean a little heavier on DeMarco Murray, and that’s going to mean a great emphasis on bulking up at the offensive guard position, rather than bringing in skill guys.

They draft multiple players in the defensive secondary

After the team was embarrassed on that side of the ball a year ago, changes need to be made, and Jones knows he’s going to have to bring in some bodies to at least begin to appease the fans, if not his new defensive coordinator.

They trade back into the first round

After taking some heat for trading down a year ago, even if that trade did work out in a big way, Jones could be looking to make the value play again, this time getting back into the first round by packaging his second round pick, and finding a trading partner in the 28-32 range on Thursday.

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