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Offseason 2013: Getting Priorities in Order

A month away from the most important day in the offseason for The Dallas Cowboys, and still so many unanswered questions are floating around at Valley Ranch. Now that Tony Romo has signed his extension, some things are seemingly getting clearer. This is the time of year where fans are filled either with anxiety, excitement or perhaps a bit of both. As Draft Day gets closer, it seems to be harder to estimate what position The Cowboys will be looking to rectify first.

Rather than add to the melting pots of Mock Drafts out there, I’ve decided to take a step back from there and regain perspective on a few things. However I haven’t given up, merely just procrastinating until the week of the event instead. It seems in years past that at this point pundits have had a better grasp on where to place each prospect; however Mock Drafts have been all over the place with The Dallas Cowboys this year.

To prioritize this organization’s needs can seem a bit difficult at times, however the first question that must be asked is “What is the most important position on an NFL Roster?” If you’ve answered anything but the quarterback, then you are sadly mistaken. The truth is that through the good and bad, it doesn’t change the fact that Tony Romo is the most important player on this team. Tony got paid, and he deserves every penny of his guaranteed $55 million. Though saying this can be the thorn in the side of his many detractors; if you believe this team needs to release him and start over, then with all due respect, you are even more delusional than I thought.  So, with that said to place an order on this teams needs becomes a lot simpler and clearer.

Mar 13, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Chance Warmack runs a drill during Alabama pro day at the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

 

  • Offensive Line- This team has 2 or 3 positions of need depending on how you look at it. If you are optimistic like me then 2 positions are what we are looking at here. Those positions are Right Tackle and Guard. This running game needs a boost, and it getting a Right Tackle with some power helps not only the running game but also Tony Romo. Speaking of that many of the 36 sacks taken last year came from the interior, that is where a Guard would do wonders to keep the quarterback on his feet and give him more time. Realistically speaking, Prospects that fit these needs are as follows: (in no particular order)
  • Jonathan Cooper-G- North Carolina        
  • DJ Fluker-T-Alabama
  • Chance Warmack-G-Alabama                    
  • Larry Warford-G-Kentucky
  • Lane Johnson-T-Oklahoma                        
  • Terron Armstead-T-Arkansas Pine Bluff
  • Barrett Jone G/C/T-Alabama                     
  • Justin Pugh-G-Syracuse

 

  • Safety- This trumps the Defensive Line at this point due to the uncertainty level at the position. As much as the coaches praise Barry Church, and Achilles injury worries me a lot. Place that with the fact that Matt Johnson couldn’t seem to stay healthy for an hour, we have some issues looming. Will Allen has the RKG tendencies that Garrett always speaks of, but I’m not yet convinced. The Tampa-2 requires a smart and skilled Safety to be a leader in the backfield. Some prospects that fit this need is as follows: (in no particular order)

 

  • Kenny Vaccaro-S-Texas                  
  • JJ Wilcox-S-Georgia Southern
  • Eric Reid-S-LSU                                    
  • Phillip Thomas-S-Fresno State
  • Matt Elam-S-Florida                          
  •  Baccari Rambo-S-Georgia
  • Jonathan Cyprien- Florida Int’l    
  • Shamarko Thomas-S-Syracuse

 

  • Defensive Line- On this unit, much like The Offensive Line there are possibly a few areas that could use an upgrade. With the recent acquiring of Justin Durant, I believe it may be safe to say that this year’s training camp battle begins at The SAM Linebacker position. Also with that said, other than maybe another late round addition, I’m marking that off the list of needs on the Defensive Line. That leaves a need at Defensive Tackle in both the 1 and 3 Technique. My thought is that this team will find Jay Ratliff as a good starter in the 3 Technique, but that doesn’t take them out of the rough yet. A 1-Tech is a sure need because Josh Brent isn’t coming back. The 1-Tech requires a “big boy” in the middle to help stuff the run. This team could also use some insurance at Defensive End. Some prospects who could fill these needs are as follows: (in no particular order)
  • Star Lotulelei-DT-Utah                                    
  • Sheldon Richardson-DT-Missouri
  • Johnathan Hankins-DT-Ohio State            
  • Kawann Short-DT-Purdue
  • Sylvester Williams-DT-North Carolina      
  •  Bjoern Werner-DE-Florida State
  • Dion Jordan-DE-Oregon                                   
  • Ezekiel Ansah-DE-BYU
  • Alex Okafor-DE-Texas                                      
  • Sam Montgomery-DE-LSU
  • Cornelius Carradine-DE-Florida State
  • Brandon Williams-DT-Missouri Southern State
  • Barkevious Mingo- OLB-LSU
  • Margus Hunt-DE-SMU

 

  • Running Back- Although some have said that Felix Jones could come back, I don’t believe this team is too keen on the backup plan being injury prone. This offense needs a back that can spell DeMarco Murray when needed but also be able to handle the load if called upon. Neither Phillip Tanner nor Lance Dunbar in my opinion are cut from that cloth. The Dallas Cowboys will most likely be looking to fill this spot with a late round draft pick. Some prospects that could be of some assistance are: (in no particular order)
  • Montee Ball-RB-Wisconsin                         
  • Le’Veon Bell-RB-Michigan State
  • Stepfan Taylor-RB-Stanford                      
  • Marcus Lattimore-RB-South Carolina
  • Andre Ellington-RB-Clemson                    
  • Rex Burkhead-RB-Nebraska

 

This may seem like a lot to digest, and many may be pondering why the likes of Joeckel or Fisher haven’t made the list, but I don’t see the Cowboys trading up for either of those Offensive Tackles. I have always believed that this team needs to make a play at as much quality Offensive Lineman they can find. Even if the Cowboys are able to sign a proven veteran at Guard like Brandon Moore, I will stand pat that drafting O-Line is still the 1st priority. As I have been preaching all along the best way for The Dallas Cowboys to go from “pretender” to “contender” is to improve these trenches. If this organization is able to make some “choice” selections in that area, this team can perhaps finally average more points than their opponents.

Ladies and Gents, we have a month. Who knows what may happen in this time regarding Free Agents, or current roster holders; however something tells me that a lot of things will come to fruition within the next few weeks. Now that the Cowboys have locked up there Franchise Quarterback, they will most likely be shifting focus into getting Anthony Spencer into a cap-friendly deal. What will be interesting is what the team will choose to do with their new-found savings. If I’m Stephen Jones, I’m looking to the quality Offensive Lineman that are still out there looking for a job; However I’m not losing sight of the only way to improve this organization long-term: The NFL Draft.

Topics: Anthony Spencer, Brandon Carr, Dallas Cowboys, DeMarco Murray, DeMarcus Ware, Detroit Lions, Dez Bryant, Doug Free, Felix Jones, Jason Garrett, Jason Witten, Jay Ratliff, Jerry Jones, Mike Jenkins, Miles Austin, NFL Draft, Tony Romo, Tyron Smith

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  • Mark Latsos

    Great article.

  • Juanito Juanito

    SIGN BRANDON MOORE, 2 seasons, cowboys need him a lot, because if cowboys cant grab one of the first two guards in first round
    draft, the same history for romo, run forest, run forest, run forest, run romo, run romo, run romo

  • MillaRed

    Well done.

  • Michael Sisemore

    I appreciate the love guys, thanks.

  • ta

    nearly everyone has been preaching this. Good choices for top 3 rounds. Maybe they get Idonije, and Moore in FA yet as well. Why does Martinelli have no love for Jonathan Jenkins.

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