NEW YORK -- Former Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy mentioned the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams when asked Tuesday about his feel for the teams that have shown the most interest in him this draft season.
"Dallas was really good. I like them. They feel like they can use me across their D-line, inside and out," Ealy, who is in New York City to attend the draft this week, told College Football 24/7. "St. Louis, same thing. Some teams don't want me to say their names, but I got a good feel for every team I met with and the different schemes, terminology, and stuff like that."
Dallas holds the No. 16 overall pick in the draft and has a definite need on the defensive line, although draft analysts aren't projecting Ealy to be chosen that early.
St. Louis would be something of a dream team for the former Missouri star. With a defensive end tandem of Chris Long and Robert Quinn combining for 27.5 sacks last season, the Rams wouldn't figure to need Ealy as much as a defensive end, but his ability to play inside could intrigue St. Louis.
The club picks at Nos. 2 and 13 overall in the first round, but could find Ealy to be much more of a bargain with it's second-round pick (No. 44 overall), if he is available at the time. Dallas' second-round pick is just three picks later at No. 47. Dallas' 4-3 defensive alignment could allow Ealy to be an every-down player at the next level, playing end on early downs and perhaps sliding inside to play tackle on third down, when his skills as a pass rusher could help shrink the pocket from the middle.
One of the factors that could determine whether Ealy's name goes off the board in the first round or second is the eventual draft fate of former Auburn pass rusher Dee Ford. The choice of one could result in something of a fall for the other. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks prefers Ford over Ealy as a prospect, but doesn't project a long wait for either. Brooks has Ford projected to land with the Arizona Cardinals at pick No. 20 in his latest mock draft, and he has Ealy going No. 27 overall to the New Orleans Saints.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.