It is a strong class of safeties at the top with three rated as first-round prospects. There is a drop off after that, though FloridaState’s duo, LaMarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks, could become contributors. LSU’s Craig Loston and Baylor’s Ahmad Dixon could be special teams standouts.
The Cowboys believe they have found their starters in free safety Barry Church and strong safety J.J. Wilcox. Wilcox, a third-round choice in 2013, played in 13 games, with five starts, and had 44 tackles. Church, who had started only four games before last season, led the Cowboys with 147 tackles, an interception and three forced fumbles. Jeff Heath, a rookie free agent last year, gained valuable experience last season in starting nine games at strong safety. Dallas has not given up on Matt Johnson yet, even though the 2012 fourth-round pick spent his first two seasons on injured reserve. The Cowboys, though, still could use a pick on a safety. They like Northern Illinois strong safety Jimmie Ward, whom they had in for a pre-draft visit, but he likely won’t be on the board for them in the second round.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama, 6-1, 208, 4.58, He played in 11 games last season, with nine starts at free safety, and made 51 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions.
Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville, 5-11, 207, 4.58, He had 75 tackles, five pass breakups, three interceptions and two forced fumbles last season.
Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois, 5-11, 193, 4.59, He had 95 tackles, 10 pass breakups and seven interceptions last season.
LaMarcus Joyner, FS, Florida State, 5-8, 184, 4.55, He started six games at corner and eight at the nickel last season, with 69 tackles, four pass breaks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
Terrence Brooks, FS, FloridaState, 5-11, 198, 4.42, He was a second-team All-ACC pick.
Jonathan Dowling, FS, Western Kentucky, 6-3, 190, 4.52, After being dismissed from Florida, Dowling had 18 total turnovers the past two seasons for the Hilltoppers.
Top Texas ties
Craig Loston, SS, LSU, 6-1, 217, 4.65, The Houston Eisenhower product, a possible fourth-round pick, made 24 starts in his career with 148 tackles and seven interceptions.
Ahmad Dixon, SS, Baylor, 6-0, 212, 4.64, A possible fifth-round choice, he had 288 tackles in his career.
Marqueston Huff, FS, Wyoming, 5-11, 196, 4.49, The Texarkana Liberty-Eylau product, a possible fifth-round choice, averaged 10.6 tackles last season, 11th in FBS.
-- Charean Williams