The Cowboys earned the ninth overall pick with their 6-10 season, the highest they’ll draft since taking Terence Newman fifth overall in 2003, unless Jerry Jones trades down.
Here’s a quick look at the players ranked ninth overall right now on the draft boards of ESPN’s experts.
Texas A&M OLB Von Miller, a pass-rushing machine from DeSoto, is No. 9 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board. Miller would be a phenomenal fit in a 3-4 defense, but it’s extremely unlikely that the Cowboys will pick the local kid. Anthony Spencer didn’t have a good season, but he’s a recent first-round pick who has demonstrated the ability to be a force opposite perennial Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys have too many glaring needs to spend a top-10 pick on this position.
Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn is ninth in Scouts Inc.’s rankings. Clayborn played in a 4-3 scheme with the Hawkeyes, but at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, he has the frame to be a 3-4 defensive end who would move inside on passing downs. Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher will all be unrestricted free agents – and at least two aren’t likely to return to Valley Ranch – so defensive end ranks up there with the offensive line and secondary on the Cowboys’ list of draft priorities.