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Kiper Projects Cowboys Drafting A Safety

In his second mock of 2012, ESPN draft-talk-man Mel Kiper has tabbed a safety for the Dallas Cowboys at No. 14 overall, Alabama's Mark Barron.

More of an in-the-box strong safety than a coverage guy, Barron would replace Abram Elam and start alongside Gerald Sensabaugh. While the Cowboys certainly could use an upgrade at safety, the team has its share of needs at every level of the defense and on the offensive line.

Depending on what needs they fill in free agency, the team may be able to simply pick the best player on their board. That could conceivably be Barron, though he has rarely been projected to the Cowboys in internet mocks.

The Cowboys haven't drafted a safety early on since 2002, when they made Oklahoma's Roy Williams the selection at No. 8 overall. A true strong safety, Williams went on to make five Pro Bowls, but the game quickly evolved and passed him by.

The team has picked only three true safeties in the years since, none higher than fifth-rounders Pat Watkins (2005) and Mike Hamlin (2009).

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