Posted: 3:01 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
We look at a compilation of eight different big boards to try and figure out who the top five players are at positions that are of particular interest to the Cowboys.
A 49ers fan going by the name of "Poldarn" performed the arduous task of compiling eight different big boards in search of a consensus and posted it on our SB Nation sister site Niners Nation. The eight big boards used to create the consensus ranking are from: CBS/nfldraftscout.com, drafttek.com, thesidelineview.com, pigskinprospects.com, ESPN, Mocking the draft, nationalfootballpost.com, and fanspeak.com. All boards are as of February 9, 2014. You can find the full consensus ranking by following this link
Instead of simply copy/pasting that original table, we'll look at the consensus top five players per position, and we'll focus on the positions that are of particular interest to the Cowboys.
First up, the top defensive tackles (with their slot on the consensus board in brackets):
1. Louis Nix III, Notre Dame (16)
2. Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota (18)
3. Timmy Jernigan, Florida State (21)
4. Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (25)
5. Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (29)
For Cowboys fans enthralled with Aaron Donald, this consensus ranking spells good news, as Donald could well be available when the Cowboys are on the clock with their first pick. At the same time, prospects like Will Sutton, Dominique Easley, DaQuan Jones and Kelcey Quarles are all projected to still be available when the Cowboys are on the clock with their second-round pick.
Could this mean that the Cowboys might be looking for another position with their first pick? If so, a top-notch defensive end might be a suitable target.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (1)
2. Kony Ealy, Missouri (19)
3. Trent Murphy, Stanford (31)
4. Scott Crichton, Oregon State (45)
5. Trevor Reilly, Utah (61)
There's a big drop-off from Clowney (ranked #1 overall) to the remaining pass rushers, all of whom could still be around when the Cowboys pick in the first round - at least according to the consensus ranking.
The last time the Cowboys drafted a pass rusher with either their first or second pick was in 2007, when they picked up Anthony Spencer in the first round. With Spencer unlikely to remain in Dallas for the 2014 season, wouldn't this be a good year to draft a bona fide pass rusher?
1. Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama (15)
2. Calvin Pryor, Louisville (32)
3. Ed Reynolds, Stanford (70)
4. Deone Bucannon, Washington State (79)
5. Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois (86)
No surprise at the top of the list, where Clinton-Dix and Pryor are ranked one and two. Pryor is ranked as a borderline first-rounder, so he could be a potential Cowboys target.
The surprise here is that Jimmie Ward is only ranked fifth. He had gained some traction recently - Kiper has him as his third-ranked safety - but in this consensus ranking, he would still be available with the Cowboys' third-round pick. But after drafting a safety with their third-rounder last year, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to draft another safety at the very same spot, just a year removed.
1. Khalil Mack, Buffalo (6)
2. Anthony Barr, UCLA (8)
3. C.J. Mosley, Alabama (10)
4. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (28)
5. Dee Ford, Auburn (37)
The top three guys here are all consensus Top Ten picks, which is why Cowboys fans immediately begin salivating when one of these prospects drops to within the Cowboys reach in one of the ubiquitous mock drafts.
But there's intriguing quality outside of the top three. Shazier and Ford would both be very interesting picks for the Cowboys, and would both be available in a trade-down scenario at the bottom of the first round.
1. Zack Martin, Notre Dame (23)
2. David Yankey, Stanford (30)
3. Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA (43)
4. Cyril Richardson, Baylor (60)
5. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (65)
Jerry Jones had never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round - until he selected two offensive linemen in the last three years. As a result, many a pundit had to find a new pet meme, but will the Cowboys make it three first-round offensive linemen in four years? Highly unlikely. But a guard in the second round, who knows?
A lot can happen between now and draft day. Still, I don't think it's unrealistic to hope for perhaps two of the names on this year's rankings to end up playing for the Cowboys. If you had you choice, which two would it be?