The off-season has officially begun and it seems harder every day to find clarity in what I’m sure will be an interesting few months. With the staff almost set, it’s as though there are more and more questions to be answered around Valley Ranch. As any fan in the NFL, we may not be content with the way our season ended, but at least we are in the part of the year that can restore hope. Regardless if you may be the pessimist, optimist or even confused and undecided; fans all still gather every bit of hope they can during this time of year.
Despite the many speed bumps that lie ahead of this team (insert Cap situation here), fans should take refuge in this year’s upcoming Draft. There are holes to be filled, this is true, but The Dallas Cowboys are not the only ones with many questions and very few answers at the moment. Every team is going through their rosters right now and trimming what they can to have a chance in Free Agency. Last year The Cowboys made their moves swiftly because they had the cash to make those necessary upgrades to attempt the “best player available” approach in The Draft.
Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) under pressure from Cleveland Browns defensive end Jabaal Sheard (97) as he got past Dallas Cowboys tackle Doug Free (68) at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Although there are not too many “flashy” or “sexy” picks in this year’s class, there are plenty of skill players The Dallas Cowboys should feel good about. People, it is no surprise that this team lost a lot of their battles in the trenches and this has to be rectified. They can no longer put “Band-Aids” on gaping wounds. The options in Free Agency will be very limited, if any, they will most likely find a few role players for bargains. Don’t get me wrong, I trust that Stephen Jones will be working magic once again to help alleviate any pressure he can; but that also comes with a price further down the road.
I cannot yet analyze Free Agency adequately because I’m not sure of what may or may not be there to work with, so I’m forced to tackle that issue on a later date. Instead, I would like to focus on what this team may have in the new class coming in. This Draft can look meek to some ball clubs depending on their situation. If you are a Cowboys fan though, you should be salivating with what it does offer. In this Draft, The Cowboys can make significant strides that I believe will ultimately lead to a playoff-caliber team.
With that said, I’ve concluded that the Dallas Cowboys must select Linemen with their 1st and 2nd round picks. If they decide to help Kiffin first and grab a Sharrif Floyd or a Sheldon Richardson to solidify that 3-Tech Defensive Tackle that is needed; in my opinion they will need to get in position to select a Larry Warford or Justin Pugh in the 2nd. Let’s say they decide to help Tony Romo first, and they select a Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper or even Eric Fisher; than perhaps a 2nd round selection of Kawann Short or Brandon Williams would be nice fit.
Many will object and claim that a ball-hawking Safety should be selected in the 2nd round and some will even say Vaccaro in the 1st, to that I say: tread lightly dear friends. You see, I’m in Austin, TX, I have had plenty of time to dissect the UT Safety; he is good, but those 1st and 2nd picks are too rich for this young blood, and it bothers me that he gives up on plays. Getting a mauler on the Offensive Line or a headhunter on the Defensive Line will better serve this team for years to come. Besides wouldn’t you still like to see what this team could have in a healthy Matt Johnson? He’s not a mind-blower but he does have a knack for being around the ball.
This Draft offers this team a chance to get some real contributors and will add depth to hopefully keep them from decimation. I have faith in Kiffin, Eberflus and Marinelli to develop Crawford, Lissemore, Albright and some of the younger guys who are chomping at the bit for some playing time. I have faith in Jason Garrett, Bill Callahan, and Pollack to finally give the desired attention to this struggling Offensive Line.
If the Superbowl taught us anything this past weekend, it was that those teams have pretty good lines on both sides of the ball. That is what needs to be the blueprint for The Dallas Cowboys this off-season Indeed this defense needs more turnovers, but this offense can stand less a dosage of sacks on Tony Romo. Shifting focus to getting quality players on both lines could be the difference between mediocrity and greatness. In closing, I will pose the question to the reader; what would you like to see occur this off-season?