Written by theMBIIIeffect
Draft time and free agency in the NFL is a lot like Christmas.
Your franchise gets new toys.
The Cowboys have a few different types of toys on their wish lists through free agency and the draft, with the most glaring needs at free safety, offensive tackle, middle linebacker and slot receiver. Here are the players that should be at the top of the Jerry Jones’ wishlist, should he decide to pursue them in free agency or with the 27th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Free Safety: Antrel Rolle of the Cardinals figures to be released by his team according to the Chicago Tribune. Please, oh please, oh pretty please, let this happen. Rolle would be the best unrestricted free agent on the market by a mile and would probably partner well with strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh, provided that Sensabaugh gets a new contract or at least a tender from the Cowboys (which he probably will). If the Cowboys want to get some depth at free safety from the draft, they’ll probably look at Texas’ Earl Thomas. Thomas had a good combine and he’ll be enticing to the Texans, who have the 20th overall pick. We’d have to leapfrog them to get to that pick. The Seahawks at 14 or the 49ers at 17 make a lot of sense, as they’d be glad to stockpile picks. If not Thomas, then Georgia’s Reshad Jones could be a good pick in the second or third round and Florida’s Major Wright could be on the board as late as the fourth round.
Offensive Tackle: We need to start planning for Flozell Adams riding into the sunset NFL style-playing a disgraceful year or two with the Raiders, Rams or Bears. Unfortunately, the talent pool is shallow and shrinking as teams tender their tackles. The best name that hasn’t been tendered as of yet is San Diego’s Marcus McNeal. He’s only missed two starts in his whole career and he allowed 5 sacks in 16 games last year. He’s going to get a tender, probably a first and third round tender. If the Chargers put only a first round tender on McNeal, Jerry might be tempted to pull the trigger as this year’s tackle class is extremely top heavy. Names like Trent Williams, Anthony Davis and Charles Brown might be gone by pick 27. The best move again is to move up. Bryan Bulaga is one of two offensive tackles who are polished enough and question-free enough to start from game 1. The only problem is that he might go within the first 15 picks. But left tackle might be the most important position for any team looking to do anything in the NFL, so moving up could be worth it. The next best left tackle prospect could be Indiana’s Roger Saffold and he might be around in the draft’s third round. The talent drops off very sharply here.
Middle Linebacker: Keith Brooking, the newest hero for the Cowboys’ defense is not going to be too far behind Adams. He’s 34 now and he’ll turn 35 during next season. We have to be looking for his replacement as well unless Bobby Carpenter or Jason Williams does anything. The biggest name in free agency this year is Cardinal inside backer Karlos Dansby. Again, the talent pool is shallow here and teams will throw boatloads of money at Dansby. There are other names out there like Larry Foote, but Jerry should look to continue the trend of getting younger at this position. Florida’s Brandon Spikes might be a good choice in the second or third round. He does have some deficiencies in the zone defense, but he has the size and the attitude to take on and beat offensive linemen.
Slot Receiver: This might be the position of minimal need as Patrick Crayton is still smart and serviceable and Kevin Ogletree keeps on doing everything right to get himself a starting spot. But the slot position is a position for an obvious mismatch. That’s where guys like Brandon Stokley when he played for the Colts, Wes Welker of the Patriots and Percy Harvin of the Vikings really made opposing defenses sweat. A free agent who would meet that need is Davone Bess of the Dolphins. He’s coming off of a season that saw him catch 71 passes. If we were to address this need in the draft, it’d obviously be in the later rounds. However, there are plenty of guys who fit the mold of a shifty slot receiver who’d still be around on Day 2 of the draft, when the Cowboys usually succeed. A guy who has been shooting up teams’ draft boards is Andre Roberts from The Citadel. The guy was the best receiver on the South team at the Senior Bowl and he turned in a good combine, posting a 4.4 40-yard dash time. He was a top performer in the 40, the broad jump, the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle. The guy is just plain old athletic and he was dangerous as a punt returner, another need for the Cowboys. He’ll need work at reading NFL defenses and beating press coverage, but he won’t be pressed into service right away.
Tags: 49ers Andre Roberts Anthony Davis Antrel Rolle Bears Bobby Carpenter Brandon Spikes Brandon Stokely Bryan Bulaga Cardinals Charles Brown Colts Cowboys Davone Bess Dolphins Earl Thomas Florida Flozell Adams Free Safety Georgia Gerald Sensabaugh Indiana Jason Williams Jerry Jones Karlos Dansby Keith Brooking Kevin Ogletree Larry Foote Major Wright Marcus McNeal Middle Linebacker Offensive Tackle Patrick Crayton Patriots Percy Harvin Raiders Rams Reshad Jones Roger Saffold San Diego Seahawks Senior Bowl Slot Receiver Texans Texas The Citadel Trent Williams Vikings Wes Welker