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NFL Mock Draft 2013: SI's Banks projects OT D.J. Fluker to Cowboys

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks projects the Dallas Cowboys to address their offensive line with the 18th pick in the 2013 Draft.

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The Dallas Cowboys solidified their secondary in last year's draft, moving up to select cornerback Morris Claiborne. Solid at other skill positions, especially on the offensive side of the football, this year's draft will likely be focused on trench play for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys defense will transition from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense after defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired in favor of Monte Kiffin, and such a transition will require certain talent up front.

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The Cowboys' offense struggled last year behind poor line play. They allowed 36 sacks—16th in the NFL—and especially struggled in the run game. Poor offensive-line play and an injured DeMarco Murray had the Cowboys finish the season with the second-lowest rushing total in the league.

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks recognizes both needs, but is gravitating towards the offensive side. In his latest mock draft, Banks projects the Dallas Cowboys to select Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker at No. 18.

Based on need, the Cowboys could head in the defensive tackle direction, taking either Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins or North Carolina's Sylvester Williams. With the switch to a 4-3 defense, Dallas has to find a tackle or two in the draft. But offensive tackle is another issue that needs addressing, and Fluker is simply too highly rated to pass up in this offensive tackle-plentiful draft.

Fluker is one of four Alabama players and two Alabama linemen Banks projects to be drafted in the first round. Fluker is known for his size. Measuring in at 6'5, 339 pounds, Fluker ran a 5.31 40-yard dash and tallied 21 reps on the bench press.

Matt Fairburn of SB Nation's Mocking the Draft also recognizes Dallas' need for improved trench play. Unlike Banks, Fairburn gravitates towards the defensive side of the football. With the 18th pick, Fairburn mocks defensive end Bjoern Werner from Florida State.

The Dallas Cowboys are moving to a 4-3 defense, and what better way to start the construction of that new scheme than with Bjoern Werner of Florida State. Werner is not a lock for the top 10 and slides in this mock draft due to the number of 3-4 teams in need of pass rushers. Dallas won't mind the value, though.

Bjoern Werner Scouting Report

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.