By Carden Hedelt aka MBIIIeffect
I’m not one to dwell on failure, which is what the 2008-2009 season was for the Dallas Cowboys. Finishing 9-7 with that much talent on the team is woeful, but since no heads have rolled in Dallas’ coaching staff minus ex-special teams coach Bruce Read, it doesn’t look like there will be any firings or hirings unless Jason Garrett takes a head coach job somewhere. That being said, we’re likely to lose a few players to free agency and we had a few obvious holes that need filling.
Here’s what we need:
1. Safety: It’s no secret that Roy Williams is a liability in the defensive backfield. He has looked lost in coverage ever since former Cowboy Darren Woodson hung up his cleats. There’s also a chance that we could lose Keith Davis to free agency, so there’s another roster spot at safety that is open. USC’s Taylor Mays is staying in L.A. for his 4th year of eligibility and I think Jerry could have pulled off a trade for him. Look for Dallas to try for Oregon’s Patrick Chung or Utah’s Sean Smith in the 2nd round or Sherrod Martin from DeMarcus Ware’s alma mater, Troy State in the 4th-5th. Tampa Bay’s Jermaine Phillips is an unrestricted free agent this year or, even better, Chicago’s Mike Brown. Either way, we need a rangy safety to play FS so we can move Ken Hamlin to SS, his more natural position.
2. Inside linebacker: Zach Thomas voided the rest of his contract and is gone. Kevin Burnett is probably gone to free agency. I don’t want to see Bobby Carpenter at inside linebacker, so look for Dallas to take someone in the 3rd round like TCU’s Jason Phillips, but I have my eyes on Scott McKillop, who registered 137 total tackles, 17.5 TFL, four sacks and four passes broken up this year and Cal’s Worrell Williams, who has experience playing in a 3-4. But I think the move here is to go for another veteran in Jacksonville’s Mike Peterson. He’s had injury problems, but Bradie James was on fire this year next to a strong, smart inside backer in Zach Thomas. I’d like to see that happen again.
3. Backup quarterback: Those games that Tony Romo was hurt were painful for Dallas fans. We were hurting for the days when we had backups that were at least competent. That being said, this year is a good year for quarterbacks in the draft. There’s a chance that we wouldn’t have to look outside the state of Texas for this one, with Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell probably available until the 3rd or 4th round. If he’s still there that late, we have to pull the trigger on him. Another quarterback that we could take as a project that will be around until late is Clemson’s Cullen Harper. This year, Harper had 2,601 yards, 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. But last year, he threw for 2,887 yards, 27 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He’s obviously coachable and has the physical tools. I’d be willing to use a 6th rounder on chance like Harper. There are tons of obvious backup options like free agents Jeff Garcia, Kyle Boller, Charlie Batch, Rex Grossman, etc. But there needs to be at least one young quarterback kept on Dallas’ roster this year as a project.