Mock draft: Cowboys upgrade D line

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys might be thinking about the draft a little sooner than they would like if they can’t win the NFC East, but ESPN’s Todd McShay has already offered up his first mock draft.Insider

He has the Cowboys taking Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt.

Here's McShay’s take on the pick: "The Cowboys' choice here could just come down to taking the best defensive player available, given the issues they've had on that side of the ball. But in particular, they need D-line help in a very bad way, and I think Tuitt would be an interesting fit. He makes the most sense as a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 alignment, but given his athleticism and quickness I feel as though he could also work as a 3-technique D-tackle who gets up the field and disrupts. Tuitt is still a work in progress, but his ceiling is awfully high. Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan is another option here."

McShay hits the Cowboys’ biggest need. They passed on taking Sharrif Floyd, who was their fifth rated player, when they were initially on the clock last April and traded down with San Francisco. The move has worked out pretty well with center Travis Frederick and wide receiver Terrance Williams.

But they ignored the defensive line for the entire draft because they felt it was already a position of strength. The claim was dubious even before the Cowboys suffered a ton of injuries along the line from the first day of training camp into the regular season.

There is another reason for the Cowboys to go after the defensive line in the 2014 draft. Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer will be free agents, and they could have to make a contractual decision on DeMarcus Ware.

So file Tuitt’s name away and if you hear people talk about his “quick twitch,” then realize he would be a fit for the Cowboys.