Should Cowboys Draft Taylor Lewan in First Round?

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Oct 27, 2012; Lincoln, NE, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker Taylor Lewan (77) warms up prior to the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska won 23-9. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

So let’s say, for example, that a prospect like offensive tackle Taylor Lewan was to slide further in the first round than expected. What if this player, who would have been a top-10 selection in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, ends up available once the Cowboys go on the clock on opening night?

Here’s a couple of things to consider:

First off, current right tackle Doug Free will become a free agent following this season and, despite a nice rebound following last offseason’s paycut, Jones will have to think seriously about how to deal with that. Do we assume that Jones would allow Free to test the free-agent waters and likely look towards FA himself in acquiring the next right tackle responsible for protecting his somewhat fragile franchise quarterback?

Perhaps Jones offers Free another extension?

Both of those questions should be avoided.

The entire discussion regarding Free is wiped away by selecting Lewan. This would not only represent long-term stability at both offensive tackle spots, but it would also help to illustrate a franchise that’s planning ahead, regardless of what Jones or anybody else might say about not rebuilding or winning right away.

This much is all but certain: Dallas will have to have strong offensive output in order to have any chance at the playoffs following next season. This happens to be the strongest side of the ball, so it might not be a bad decision to make a move on a guy like Lewan which could actually elevate the quality of play at right tackle in a short time. The value aspect of this scenario would be incredible.

I can’t think of any other offensive position, takeaway quarterback, that Jones would consider addressing in the first round. Wide receivers can often attract Jones’ attention and we could also have a similar discussion regarding Dallas’ hypothetical selection of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the draft’s most talented pass-catcher and a receiver that can fly on the football field.

The main point here is that the Cowboys are much closer to having an offense that can be dominant than they are to having a defense of the same caliber. My guess is that Dallas spends numerous selections on defensive linemen of all kinds next month.

This doesn’t mean that Dallas will address this area to begin with, however. The ’14 NFL Draft features a deep and dynamic class of talent. There will be plenty of defensive options for the Cowboys to consider in the middle rounds.

Yes, the offensive coaching staff is quite crowded and it’s anybody’s guess as to who’s actually going to be doing what in terms of the offensive roster and game plans. Last year’s declaration of Callahan as the new play-caller didn’t seem to stop Garrett from actually calling the plays for possibly the entire season.

Either way, an offensive line that could include the likes of two guards weighing close to 700 pounds and recent first-round selections everywhere else in left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right tackle Lewan looks awfully tempting.

Just food for thought as the draft draws closer and closer. The landscape will continue changing over much of the next few weeks as Jones and his staff prepare their draft board. This franchise would do well to simply take the best player available if the positional value is there. Offensive tackle, depending on who you ask, is either the second or third most valuable position in professional football.

Unless you already have two franchise offensive tackles, you should take one.

Dallas only has one at this time.

The Cowboys could certainly begin the draft with an offensive player—and they might not be wrong in doing so.

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