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Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald could be the first round selection by the Dallas Cowboys

By Matthew Postins

PostinsPostcards.com

Pro days are rolling along and we’re getting a better idea of what draft prospects the Dallas Cowboys are talking to. Plus, free agency is underway and we’re getting a clearer picture of how the Cowboys are attacking their player needs for 2014.

So it’s time for the next mock draft tracker, brought to you by Rattle and Hum Sports. We have plenty of updates from experts around the NFL. Our next mock draft will come out on March 21, as the march goes on to see who the Cowboys will take at No. 16.

CBSSports.com

Rob Rang: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 3/10)

Dane Brugler: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 3/10)

Pete Prisco: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (updated 3/13)

Pat Kirwan: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 3/4)

Will Brinson: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (updated 3/7)

No changes here for any of CBS’s top four mockers. Brinson is a new addition, having published his first mock post-combine. The minds at CBSSports.com are of the consensus that Donald will fall to the Cowboys at No. 16, which frankly makes him a great pick here. There’s nothing wrong with Jernigan, but Donald is coming off a monster year and feels like the better fit for the Cover 2.

Something to consider: If you’re looking for a high-end outside pass rusher to replace DeMarcus Ware, don’t look in the first round. The majority of the pass rushers are 3-4 outside linebackers that do not fit in Rod Marinelli’s scheme. Missouri’s Kony Ealy appears to be the odds-on favorite to be the top 4-3 end taken right now, but most consider him a mid- to late-first round pick. If I had a choice, I would take Donald and grab a solid end in the second round.

NFL.com

Chase Goodbread: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville (updated 3/13)

Matt Smith: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 3/5)

Bucky Brooks: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 3/4)

Charles Davis: Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame (updated 2/27)

Daniel Jeremiah: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 2/27)

Chase Goodbread is the newest addition to NFL.com’s Mock Draft panel. The majority is on board with Donald, though only Goodbread – who took Pryor – has updated this week. Curiously Davis updated his to have the Cowboys taking Martin, who is one of the best tackles in this draft and could be a future replacement for Doug Free.

Something to consider: Here’s why Mock Drafts are just that. One analyst has Blake Bortles at No. 1. Another has Bortles at No. 20. So who knows, right?

ESPN.com

Mel Kiper Jr.: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (updated 3/13)

Todd McShay: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama (updated 3/6)

Mel’s is piping hot, coming down the Internet the day after DeMarcus Ware heads for Denver. As I mentioned earlier, the 4-3 defensive end isn’t the marquee position in this draft. Kiper has the Cowboys taking Jernigan partly because Donald is off the board, taken at No. 14 by Chicago. McShay is in complete agreement. How often does that happen?

Something to consider: Three players the Cowboys have been connected to in other mocks – Pryor, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and C.J. Mosley – are at Nos. 13, 15, and 17, respectively, in McShay’s latest mock.

Sports Illustrated.com

Chris Burke: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 2/26)

Don Banks: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (updated 2/21)

Doug Farrar: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (updated 3/9)

Burke and Banks have not updated since our last tracker. Farrar, a buddy of ours now writing for SI.com’s Audibles, is also on the Clinton-Dix train.

Something to consider: Interesting that Farrar didn’t have Jernigan going in the Top 16. Farrar has Jernigan falling all the way to No. 31.

DallasCowboys.com

Bryan Broaddus: Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame (updated 3/13)

Nick Eatman: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame (updated 3/13)

Rowan Kavner: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (updated 3/13)

The boys at DallasCowboys.com are using the “on the clock” simulator at fanspeak.com to do their mock drafts. The results are interesting and not at all in line with the team’s perceived needs. But it’s an example of “best available player” drafting, and that makes the results interesting.

Something to consider: The writers simulated four rounds and, I have to admit, I love Broaddus’ draft if you’re not taking into account need. After Martin he took Oregon State DE Scott Crichton, LSU WR Jarvis Landry and Georgia QB Aaron Murray. That’s what I call a football man.

Bleacher Report

Cody Swartz: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (updated 3/9)

Bleacher Report’s featured columnist is on the Timmy Jernigan train. He assumed Donald would be gone at No. 12.

Something to consider:  Swartz is projecting the No. 17 pick, the one awarded to Baltimore, will also be a Florida State player – wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

Yahoo Sports

Shawn King: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame (updated 3/6)

Yes, that Shawn King. The former Tampa Bay quarterback released his mock draft and has the Cowboys taking the bulky Nix in the first round. Nix isn’t quite the prototypical under tackle, but he could man the one technique and stop the run.

Something to consider:  I always pay attention to what former players have to say, especially when it deviates from the norm. In this case, King has Donald going at No. 5 to Oakland. Interesting. He also has Johnny Manziel falling out of the first round, saying that he doesn’t believe that NFL talent evaluators will be able to come to a consensus on him. Also interesting.

Walterfootball.com

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (updated 3/11)

No change here, as this site believes that Jernigan is going to be the selection.

Something to consider:  If Taylor Lewan drops out of the Top 12 and Donald and Jernigan were both gone, would the Cowboys be tempted to take the tackle or trade out of the pick?

Drafttek.com

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 3/13)

The computer at Drafttek.com finally spit out a different name after sticking with Ealy for over a month.

Something to consider: This site provides a seven-round simulation. Other selections include:

Second round: DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

Third round: WR Martavius Bryant, Clemson

Fourth round: OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada

Fifth round: QB David Fales, San Jose State

Seventh round: CB Ricardo Allen, Purdue

Seventh round: OG Kadeem Edwards, Tennessee State

Seventh round: OLB Prince Shembo, Notre Dame

Note: Dallas swapped its sixth-round pick for Kansas City’s seventh-round pick in the Edgar Jones trade. Dallas also got a seventh-round pick from Chicago for Dante Rosario. The above does not include compensatory picks the Cowboys may receive for free agents lost last year.

OptimumScouting.com

Eric Galko: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (updated 3/12)

Why mess with a good thing? Galko is nothing if not consistent.

Something to consider: Food for thought – Galko has Manziel dropping to No. 26 and the Cleveland Browns and Jernigan dropping to New England at No. 29. He also has Cleveland taking WR Sammy Watkins at No. 4. If that happens I don’t think Browns fans will know what to do with themselves.

SB Nation

Mocking the Draft: LB C.J. Mosley (updated 3/10)

Here’s a departure, as one of the top linebackers in the draft falls to the Cowboys. Perhaps Mosley could prompt Sean Lee to move to the outside?

Something to consider: Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert is turning into a riser, as SB Nation has him being taken at No. 15.

Football’s Future

Robert Davis: DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (updated 3/6)

Davis still has Donald at No. 16.

Something to consider: Davis has Teddy Bridgewater going No. 1 overall.

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