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Cowboys might target WR or TE in first round of 2014 NFL Draft

  • By Dan Parr
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Here's something that probably isn't going to sit well with Cowboys fans that want to see the team address needs on defense early in the draft: NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that he "would not be surprised" if Dallas targeted a wide receiver in the first round to pair with Pro Bowl selection Dez Bryant.

Wide receiver isn't the only skill position the team might address with its top pick, though. Rapoport also reported the draft's consensus No. 1 tight end, Eric Ebron, would also be in play for the Cowboys if he were to fall to 16, where Dallas is slated to pick.

Instead of replacing Tony Romo with Johnny Manziel (the rumor that won't go away), Rapoport indicated the Cowboys might embrace a pass-happy offense and stock up on weapons for Romo.

Then again, the Cowboys might not pick at No. 16. If a top defensive prospect like defensive tackle Aaron Donald or outside linebacker/defensive end Anthony Barr (Barr thinks the Cowboys would use him at defensive end) is still available, they might be too good for Dallas to pass up. However, if both are off the board, Rapoport pointed out that trading down would make plenty of sense for the club.

Rapoport included wide receivers Odell Beckham of LSU and Marqise Lee of USC as possibilities for the club to consider with the 16th pick -- it's likely that Beckham won't last much past the 16th pick, but it's possible that Dallas could trade down later in the round and still be in position to land Lee, if he's the target the team would like to see playing alongside Bryant, or another highly rated wide receiver given the great depth at the position in this year's draft. The club's second-most productive wide receiver to Bryant (93 catches for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns) last season was Terrance Williams (44-736-5), whose future appears bright as he heads into his second season, but there's little depth behind Williams and Bryant at the position.

Adding Ebron to the mix would give the Cowboys a very intriguing tandem at tight end -- 12th-year veteran Jason Witten is still one of the league's most productive tight ends. With Ebron and Witten attacking the seams, the field could really open up for Romo to lead an explosive passing game.

Of course, Dallas' biggest needs are on defense coming off a season in which it allowed a league-high 415.3 yards per game.

It's possible those needs will still be just as glaring, however, by the time the second day (Rounds 2-3) of the draft begins.

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