Draft: Cowboys' Top 3 At 'Need' Positions

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Feb 24, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (R) talks to Pittsburh Panthers Aaron Donald (L) during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As always the debate over drafting players based on team NEEDS, or selecting the overall BEST AVAILABLE player rages on a month before the 2014 NFL draft.

My personal take is a combination of the two.  A team must draft the best available player among ANY of their reasonable positions of need.  Drafting early at a firmly solidified position (other than QB) is poison.

A textbook example was Jerry Jones foolishly drafting TE Gavin Escobar in Round 2 of the 2013 draft.  Escobar was neither the best available player at ANY position, nor was there a rational need at TE.

Star veteran Jason Witten still produces well, and youngster James Hannah was showing much promise (when they actually used him).  There was little point to burn a high draft pick on a 3rd receiving TE.

In doing so they absurdly passed over OG Larry Warford.  The massive player who surrendered 1 sack in all of his Senior season at Kentucky.  With Warford (rookie starter for Lions), the Cowboys would now have a complete o-line.  Instead, they must entertain selecting any of 4 OL next month at pick 16.

Moving forward, there are 8 realisitic positions of NEED for the 2014 Cowboys. Ones that can rationally be addressed in Round 1, without cursing Jerry Jones for the countless time on Draft Day.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Johnny Manziel NFL Draft

  • PaulTX

    I think a lot of teams have a first round grade on Derek Carr. Even if you can rank the talent, it is tough to know what each team has on their individual boards. I am hoping most of the 1-15 picks go offense. That being said, I want an OL drafted by Dallas in the first three picks.

    • BradAustin

      Carr has a lot of talent no doubt and is interesting. If 1-15 makes a run on QB’s, OT’s, and WR’s like happens often (high value positions), we are in serious business defensively at 16. One thing we know for sure, this draft will not play out as neatly as most expect. Curveballs should be all over the place with so much talent and varying team needs. Gotta love the possibilities for us in a draft this deep.

      • PaulTX

        I’m happy if we grab a starter. I do not want to be drafting Romo or Dez’s backup, even if Watkins or Bortles is available at #16. If they are trade back, we could get a premium. Cards at 20 need a QB.

        • BradAustin

          I have my doubts Bortles will end up producing better than either Garropolo, Carr, or Murray will a few years down the line. He and Bridgewater should cause some hesitancy if available at 16. Just don’t think JJ would look past their elite labels given by the masses.

          Watkins is another story. He fits right in to Austin’s spot and would light it up freeing Dez to unleash at the “X”. It’d be extremely hard to double-cover Dez with Watkins and Williams on the same field. That being said, it all depends on what’s available if Watkins popped up. He’s not even a consideration with Donald on the board. Maybe even Martin as well. Solidifying either line with a really aggressive, proven, solid player is the most important early goal for this team to succeed.

          If all of those 3 are gone and the 3 LB’s, I’d trade back and grab Crichton. He’ll be a solid player at SDE and fetch us another 3rd round selection. Then we can play Melton and Crawford on the inside, Crichton at SDE, and go after Marcus Smith or Jackson Jeffcoat for the WDE in the 2nd or 3rd.

          • PaulTX

            I think you are right about Bortles. I don’t feel secure about any of these 1st round graded QBs. I’m with you on building the trenches. I see $7 million in cap we can get if we cut Free next year. No way we should pay a RT that much.

            I’m not sure I would take Donald, just because he wouldn’t be an every down guy now that we have Melton, but Marinelli will be in on that decision, and I trust his judgment. If we get Donald, it will be because Marinelli wanted him.

            I like Crichton and Smith as well. Jeffcoat seems too banged up, but maybe in the 3rd, I would take a chance. I would s**t a duck if we landed Barr.

          • Old Frog

            First round LB’s make me nervous. Bobby Carpenter and Brian Bosworth come too easily to mind.

          • PaulTX

            Barr is a different kind of player than both those guys, but I feel you. My theory is to have as many draft picks as possible. It’s always a crapshoot.

        • ctcowboy1968

          Watkins is a special player. I watched some of his games last year and he was totally uncontainable. Clemson used him all over the place and teams could not stop him. He will never last to 16, but if the Boys got him, he would be a starter.

  • Old Frog

    Totally agree with your sentiment passing on Warford to take Escobar. I’ll never forgive or forget that decsion. Although I want Martin, to me the most important thing is both of our 1st two picks have to start. No projects or depth until the later rounds. That means no Claibornes or Escobars this year. Smiths and Fredericks only, please!

    • BradAustin

      I think that Warford snub bothered most people who actually were familiar with him. I can remember being on pins and needles waiting for him to clear the few picks before us. When we had the shot at him I was ecstatic. And true to JJ form, we got the old ‘bait and switch’ once again. I was shocked to put it lightly. That one still hurts. All year I watched Escobar and couldn’t get that awful taste out of my mouth.

      I def agree with whoever we get in the 1st few rounds must start. This draft is loaded at DT, DE, and WR. Even QB is so deep it would be an ideal year to spend a 3 or 4 on a good one to groom. It’s very possible to get starters out of this group in all 3 early rounds. Should be exciting if JJ doesn’t torpedo us again. lol

      • Old Frog

        I’m really hoping that McClay, Callahan, Garrett, and even Linehan will walk into the draft room talking about how badly they messed up not taking DeCastro and Warford and vow not to make the same mistake 3 years in a row.

  • Keith Ranson

    Defensive End, Safety, Defensive Tackle, OL, WR, LB, ect., ect.

  • ctcowboy1968

    Completely agree with your assessment of last year’s draft mistakes. Stephen screwed up the trade (getting TWill saved his ass). Warford was the pick. I was screaming for it months before the draft. Would have solidified the OL for the next ten years (once Free was replaced). Sad fact was that the Cowboys did not even have Warford on their draft board! Another incredible mistake.