Feb 22, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama offensive lineman Chance Warmack speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Five Options For The Cowboys at 18...


We are now less than twenty days away from the 2013 NFL Draft.  The next stop on the road to the new season looms large, especially for a team like the Cowboys who did not have a breakout free agency period.  In last week’s column, I reviewed the last five years of drafts in Big D.  While there have been some questionable war room decisions in the past, the last three drafts have added six players to the core of the team.  This week, we will focus on a few options that the Cowboys have in this draft.

As the days, hours and minutes count down, the speculation of who will be picked by what team in what position continues to mount.  Regardless of what website you visit or what “expert” analysis you choose to read, you are almost guaranteed to get a different opinion from each person.  This is especially true the further down the draft board you go.  Almost every one has the same six guys in some particular order, but after that, the variance becomes greater.  After doing some research, I found that five different analysts have five different players being chosen by Dallas.

Todd McShay of Scout’s, Inc. has Dallas choosing safety Kenny Vaccaro.  ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.  Former Cowboys VP of player personnel Gil Brandt sees defensive end phenom Barkevious Mingo falling to the Cowboys.  Another former NFL executive and NFL.com contributor Charley Casserly thinks Dallas will choose Alabama guard Chance Warmack.  Lastly, FoxSports.com’s latest mock has another offensive lineman, North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, coming to Dallas.

Each one of those selections would be huge helps in continuing the process of adding premium young talent in positions of need for this team.  Based off of this information along with other research and my own thoughts and feel for what Dallas will do, here are the five most likely options in descending order that I see coming into fruition for the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, April 25th.

5. Dallas selects D.J. Fluker, Tackle, University of Alabama

Jan 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; LSU Tigers defensive end Kendrick Adams (94) tries to shed the block of Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linesman D.J. Fluker (76) during the first half of the 2012 BCS National Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Almost every Dallas Cowboys fan hopes that come June 1st, Doug Free is no longer on the roster.  While Jeremy Parnell has shown improvements, I can’t imagine him being the starter come week one.  Fluker, however, would definitely be the day one starter on the right side of the line.  At 6’5″ and 340 lbs, he is a prototypical right tackle with extremely long arms.  Putting Fluker on the right side of the line with Tyron Smith would give Tony Romo the type of protection he needs on the perimeter of the line.  The only reason this option is not a more likely one in my opinion is that the Cowboys need more help on the interior of their line.

4. Dallas trades the 18th pick to acquire more picks and/or move down in round one

I almost had this as the third most likely option but decided that the four spot would be most accurate given that it relies on another team.  Two teams (St. Louis and Minnesota) have multiple first round picks, each with one lower than Dallas.  Two other teams (San Francisco and Miami) have three picks in the first two rounds.  In reference to the mathematics of the draft, the Cowboys 18th pick is worth 900 points.  A trade of Dallas’ first and fifth round picks could net the Cowboys the Vikings first rounder (#23) and their third rounder (#83).  Another possible option could be Dallas trading out of the first round completely to acquire both of Miami’s second round picks (#42 and #54) which would give Dallas three 2nd round picks.

3. Dallas selects Chance Warmack, Guard, University of Alabama

Sep 15, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy (42) carries the ball as offensive linemen Chance Warmack (65) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Tenarius Wright (43) during a game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama defeated Arkansas 52-0. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Warmack represents one of the safest picks in the entire draft for anyone who will be available outside the top six.  He will step in for whoever chooses him, instantly start and be a ten-year pro who sees the occasional Pro-Bowl.  Warmack definitely meets a major need of the Cowboys given that the offensive line is the worst unit on the team.  Unfortunately, with other teams such as Tennessee and San Diego picking before the Cowboys and also needing offensive line help, it’s not exactly likely that he will be available when Dallas drafts at the 18th spot.

2. Dallas selects Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, University of Texas

Sept 1, 2012; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns free safety Kenny Vaccaro (4) intercepts a pass intended for Wyoming Cowboys wide receiver Chris McNeil (80) during the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

I have this option as the second most likely for a number of reasons.  When researching multiple mock drafts, he was available for the Cowboys to pick in 4 of the 5 drafts.  He is the number one ranked player at his position.  The safety position is a huge need for the Cowboys and lastly, he is a hometown option being born in Texas as well as playing his high school and college ball in the state.

Vaccaro has exceptional coverage skills, not to mention elite instincts and recognition skills.  At 6’0″ and 215 lbs. he also can provide run support down in the box and deliver big hits to dislodge the ball from wide receivers who may get open in the secondary.

1. Dallas selects Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle, University of North Carolina

Here we have the most likely option for the Cowboys.  Williams fills a major need for Dallas.  With the switch to a 4-3 defense and the Cowboys lacking a true long term option in the middle of their defensive line, enter Sylvester.  Williams is a beast inside, dominating opposing lineman and shutting down the run.  He is also very effective using his superior strength and quick hands to knock blockers off guard and get to the quarterback in pass rush situations.

Another sensible reason to improve the defensive line is based on the fact that there are plenty of offensive line options that would provide value in round two.  Meanwhile the top of the crop on the defensive line will not be available in the later rounds.

Feel free to leave your feedback on who you might like to see or what you would like to see happen with that first round pick.

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Tags: Chance Warmack D.J. Fluker Dallas Cowboys Kenny Vaccaro Mock Drafts NFL Draft Sylvester Williams Tony Romo

  • Renny Mason

    I just don’t think Williams will be a starter this year on our defensive line. He might get heavy reps, but Ratliff and Hatcher, in my opinion are both better options right now over a rookie. And with enough quality depth being available at defensive tackle, I think the bigger need this year is a guard/center combo and Cooper would fit the bill if he falls to the middle of the first round. A day one starter, Cooper will aid our stagnant running game while also protecting our new $119.5 million investment. But nice article brother!

    • Spanky

      Agree Renny

    • TA

      totally agree. The running game would add rest to the defense to finish games, a weakness of recent seasons. The question is will he be there. If not, Warford is a beast and Kawaan Short and Eric Reid are there in the 2nd. I like the trade with San Fran or Miami option best.

      • Renny Mason

        I like Short in the 2nd round and Phillip Thomas at safety in the 3rd round. Either Cooper, Warmack, Johnson or Fluker in the 1st round. Either way, got to be offensive line with the top pick.

  • Preach

    Let me rephrase that title; Kenny Vaccaro 5 reasons hes the pick at 18; better player in college than Polumalu (Steelers now) & Mark Barron(who da Cowboys really liked).When D.jackson & Cruz try to hide in the Slot(hiding from Carr & Mo)Vaccaro got em.Was the best tackler on the Long horns team.Was the best cover guy on the Longhorns.According to most Experts (not fans)he is the best safety in this class(a Need).

    • Spanky

      Disagree. I like Vaccaro, but tackling was not his strong point. Hitting yes, but tackling no. From a Longhorns seasons ticket holder, you might want to rewatch the games.

  • ‘mericas_team2013

    A trade to Miami, and 3 2nd round picks would be alright… Say you could get Cyprien or Reid, Warford, and Barrett Jones all in the 2nd round??? Sounds like a solid draft to me….