Defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama participates in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I have nothing against Alabama safety Mark Barron, but I don't want Dallas to draft him. Barron is more of a strong safety and that is not what Rex Ryan's defense needs.
A free safety would be great, like Earl Thomas who Seattle drafted in the first round out of Texas a few years ago. Barron is the highest rated safety but he is not a free so to draft him because of need would be silly. You want free safety to cover and that's not what his game represents.
The way Barron is flying up mock drafts it doesn't look like he will be there for the Cowboys to draft.
The Cowboys could use a pass rusher on the defensive line but the best prospects (Fletcher Cox and Melvin Ingram) will be off the board by the time Dallas drafts at #14 in the first round. LSU's Michael Brockers and Quinton Coples of North Carolina have too many questions about on the field effort and production so that scares me. You can't be worried if a guy will come to play every down.
I would draft Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
I know Jerry Jones just gave Brandon Carr $50M. I know they locked up corner Orlando Scandrick last season. Here's a few reasons why I want to hear NFL commish Roger Goodell call Kirkpatrick's name on draft day.
1. Mike Jenkins is in the final year of his contract.
In my mind Jenks is a goner. If he has an outstanding 2012 season his agent Drew Rosenhaus will want more than the $50M Carr signed for since Jenkins has a 2009 Pro Bowl season to his credit while Carr has not. If Jenkins has a bad year, GM Jerry Jones will let him walk away.
Good teams don't allow contracts to come up and hold them hostage.
The Giants played this scenario to perfection. Last year they had corner Prince Amukamara fall to them in the first round and they drafted him. Four years earlier Big Blue took corner Aaron Ross from Texas in the first round. This offseason they allowed him to leave rather than pay him the 3-year 9.75 million he got from Jacksonville. GM Jerry Reese was covered because he inked Amukamara to a 4-year 8.18 million contract. Less money and more years. THAT is drafting and replacing correctly.
Kirkpatrick is a guy who can keep the Cowboys stocked at corner with three solid contributors and keep costs down.
2. The NFC is a beast of wide receivers
Look at the following wide outs the Cowboys will face on the 2012 schedule: Hakeem Nicks & Victor Cruz (NY Giants), Sindey Rice (Seattle), Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay), Brandon Marshall (Chicago), Anquan Boldin & Torrey Smith (Baltimore), Steve Smith (Carolina), Roddy White & Julio Jones (Atlanta), Jeremy Maclin & Desean Jackson (Philadelphia), A.J. Green (Cincinnati), Mike Wallace & Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh) and Pierre Garcon (Washington).
If Dallas wants to advance in the playoffs think about other wide receivers they may encounter: Calvin Johnson (Detroit), Greg Jennings & Jordy Nelson (Green Bay), Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) and Marques Colston & Lance Moore (New Orleans).
3. Dallas will face few "decent" quarterbacks
The Cowboys defense will play Eli Manning twice. Eli has won two Super Bowl MVP awards. Robert Griffin III will be the Redskins starter at some point in the season. The face Michael Vick of Philly two times. Super Bowl winners Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees comes to Cowboys Stadium in December. Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan means Dallas will face eight Pro Bowl signal callers. Baltimore's Joe Flacco almost lead Baltimore to the Super Bowl last year. The Ravens host Dallas in October.
4. Four corners is a must
After showing you the receivers and signal callers on the Cowboys schedule you see why they need to have depth. A lot of those teams are passing the ball more than running it. Three and four receiver sets are common so you need four corners in today's NFL. Add in the fact Jenkins and Scandrick have dealt with injuries the past few years depth is a must.
5. Ability to play free safety
Kirkpatrick could be used at free safety and corner during his rookie season.
6. Kirkpatrick is tall
Kirkpatrick is 6 feet 2 inches and 186 pounds with very good tackling ability, Kirkpatrick is a big corner. He was a shutdown corner at Alabama. He's got long arms and the Cowboys will face a lot of tall wide outs.
Vincent Jackson is 6-5. Brandon Marshall, Sidney Rice and A.J. Green are 6-4. Hakeem Nicks and Julio Jones are 6-1. Roddy White, Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace check in at six feet even. Kirkpatrick evens out the fight.
In closing, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes guys who are physical and can tackle. Kirkpatrick fits the bill. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett attended Alabama's Pro Bowl. He worked for Tide head coach Nick Saban so he trusts his style and coaching ability. Saban's background is defensive backs.
So with the 14th pick in the NFL draft, I say Dre Kirkpatrick of the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide is the pick.