Former Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, long linked to the Dallas Cowboys through mock drafts, will headline a group of defensive players set to make a pre-draft visit to Valley Ranch next week, according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.
Joining Donald will be Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward and linebackers Anthony Barr and Ryan Shazier--from UCLA and Ohio State, respectively.
Donald has been described as a “perfect fit” for Rod Marinelli’s defense, another step in the makeover of the defensive line, which started in free agency with the signings of defensive end Jeremy Mincey and defensive tackles Terrell McClain and (the big fish) Henry Melton.
Owner Jerry Jones said this week that the team would likely go defense-heavy in the draft, having addressed a number of weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball in last year’s draft. Most every mock has Dallas either taking a defensive lineman or a safety with their No. 16 overall pick.
According to Archer, since 2005, the Cowboys have only selected two early round picks--DeMarcus Ware in 2005 and Morris Claiborne in 2012--who didn’t visit Valley Ranch prior to the draft.
All NFL teams are afforded 30 such visits leading up to the draft.
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