New Talent Coming
The NFL is well into the free-agency period, but you don’t hear a peep out of the Dallas Cowboys. That’s what happens when the owner plays chicken with the NFL salary cap and loses.
The team had to spend weeks restructuring current contracts simply to get even with that cap, so there will be no expensive new players coming in to help during the 2013 season.
That means the Cowboys absolutely have to make a splash in the NFL draft in order to infuse some young (and inexpensive) talent to this aging roster. That’s a tall order considering Jerry Jones’ well-documented failures in the draft for more than 15 years.
Successful teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Packers and, recently, the 49ers have all built themselves up through the draft.
The salary cap issues are directly related to the Cowboys’ track record in the NFL draft. With an inability to bring talented rookies in to take over needed positions, Dallas had to resort to signing overpriced free agents to fill the holes.
In this era of the NFL, successful teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Packers and, recently, the 49ers have all built themselves up through the draft. It’s an even bigger necessity for the Cowboys to conduct a smart draft, because they can no longer use free agency to cover up mistakes in acquiring new talent.
The team needs help at nearly every position, but most notably on the offensive and defensive lines and at safety. Should the team spend its first-round draft pick (No. 18 of 32) on one of these needed positions, here are the players they should target:
Chance Warmack, offensive guard — Alabama
This would be a no-brainer should Warmack fall to Dallas at No. 18. He is considered the best player at a position the Cowboys desperately need to fill. Warmack would instantly upgrade Dallas’ worst position on the team and help keep Tony Romo from getting beaten to a pulp.
The only problem is that most mock drafts have Warmack going off the board well before the Cowboys get a chance at him. The one silver lining is that offensive guards tend to last longer because it’s not considered a position of need by most teams. Anyone who watched the Cowboys last year knows that it’s a position of great need for this team.
Kenny Vaccaro, safety — Texas
This would be a popular pick simply because of where Vaccaro went to school, but it would also fill a great hole for the Cowboys. The listed starters at safety played a grand total of three games last season, and in Monte Kiffin’s defense, safeties are a vital cog in covering the middle of the field.
Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle — Missouri
The Cowboys don’t have a chance on defense without stud defensive tackles causing havoc in opponent’s offensive backfields. Richardson has the athleticism to do that, but he’s still a raw talent, so it might take him some time to adjust.
Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle — Utah
He is a giant defensive tackle (more than 300 pounds) who would plug up the middle and collapse the pocket with his power. There was a possibility that he would fall to the Cowboys after rumors of an irregular heart condition surfaced. His solid pro day, however, lowered the chances that he will still be available when Dallas makes its selection.
Jonathan Cooper, offensive guard — North Carolina
If the Cowboys don’t get any breaks in which a highly ranked player falls to them, Cooper is a solid pick at a needed position. He’s not as talented as Warmack, but he will still help shore up that mess of an offensive line.