With the great week at the Senior Bowl and now at the Combine, has Aaron Donald gone the way of Lane Johnson and Von Miller in prior years -- players we thought may be there initially but rose too high to be out of reach come draft time?
Rowan: He’s done everything beyond expectations and performed exceedingly well at both places, like you mentioned. But unlike those other players, I do still think there’s a chance he’s available because of his size. You can almost eliminate the 3-4 teams from taking Donald, who fits very specifically as a three-technique defensive tackle. I think he can be a fantastic player in this scheme, but he needs the right fit, which might allow him to fall to 16.
David: Luckily for the Cowboys, I don’t think there are many teams in front of them who have a pressing need at the position. The Giants might be a possibility, and as many readers have pointed out, the Bears may want him to bolster their defensive line. That doesn’t make Donald a top five or 10 pick, in my opinion. New York picks No. 12, and Chicago sits just in front of Dallas at No. 14. So I think he’ll last into the middle of the round – although perhaps not as far as No. 16.
MACHENEY PARK, IL
What is your gut feeling on what happens with
Rowan:It’s a guess at this point, as Jerry Jones said in his bus from the Combine that they hadn’t yet made their final decision and may not even make it by the time free agency starts, but I think he stays with a cut in salary. I’d be surprised if they paid him what they’re paying him entering 2014 but I’d be just as surprised to see them let him go without an answer as a replacement. Logically, Ware has to believe no team in free agency is going to give him what the Cowboys are currently paying him.
David: I agree with Rowan. The Cowboys don’t have enough depth on the defensive line, and Ware’s past production has been too good for the team to simply cut ties. But I sincerely doubt he will stay on at the salary he is currently supposed to make. I would imagine he will take a pay cut – though I don’t know how large. The deal he’ll get in Dallas is likely better than anything else out there, and he also won’t have to worry about uprooting his life to another city. He’ll stay at a reduced rate.