Cowboys Can’t Afford Another Second Round Misstep

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Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces Morris Claiborne (LSU) as the number six overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two and a half weeks, I have focused on all the possibilities facing the Dallas Cowboys when decision time comes their way May 8th.  Do they trade down, acquire more picks and draft a pass rushing defensive end?  Do they focus on a linebacker corps that only has one play maker in its stable?  Do they finally address the deficiency in the defensive backfield that has plagued this team for a decade now?  Decisions, decisions.  Options a plenty.

The good news is, as you may have read on Sunday, Dallas is pretty much in a can’t lose position when the number sixteen pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is ready to be made.  For those of you who missed it, here you go:

Barring a complete surprise from fifteen other teams or a complete “WTF?!?” moment from Jerry Jones, the first round pick should be a boost to this team in 2014 and hopefully a major contributor for a long time.

But what about round two?

If anything has been clear this off season it’s that the Dallas Cowboys brain trust (Jerry & Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett, etc.) have come to a realization that this roster is void of good players.  Sure there is your upper echelon veteran type guys.  Your Tony Romo’s and Jason Witten’s.  You have a couple of solid, but not spectacular guys in Orlando Scandrick and Barry Church.  There are some young stars ready to become great like Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Dan Bailey and maybe, maybe Sean Lee, DeMarco Murray and Henry Melton (depending on health).  Last season even gave the Cowboys two long term starting options in rookie’s Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams.

Unfortunately though, that’s about it.  Everybody else on this roster comes with a question mark of some sorts.  Given the opportunity at a do-over, you know the Cowboys would take back the $50 million they threw at Brandon Carr.  They CERTAINLY would take back the second round pick and the high draft choice used to bring in Morris Claiborne.  The entire defensive line is anyone’s guess as to what is to be made from that group.  Ditto for the safety and linebacker positions.  At the end of the day, this roster needs depth.  When the injuries come (and they have come hard the last two seasons), instead of people capable of stepping up, too often Dallas is signing someone off the street or someone off of some other team’s practice squad.

That is why round two is just as important as round one.  Looking back at the previous seven year’s worth of round two selections and it becomes clear why the Cowboys are in a three-year rut of mediocrity.

2013 – Gavin Escobar
2012 – Traded pick for Morris Claiborne
2011 – Bruce Carter
2010 – Sean Lee
2009 – Traded pick to acquire extra picks (Robert Brewster and Victor Butler)
2008 – Martellus Bennett
2007 – Traded pick to acquire extra picks (James Marten, Isaiah Stanback, Nick Folk)

One guy drafted in the second round in seven years has been a significant contributor to the team.  If that wasn’t bad enough (which it is), excluding the Sean Lee pick, each year Dallas passed on an opportunity to draft a player who has made already made a Pro-Bowl (’07 – Ryan Kalil, ’08 – Jamaal Charles, ’09 – LeSean McCoy, ’11 – Justin Houston, ’12 – Alshon Jeffery, ’13 – Eddie Lacy).  Obviously, the Cowboys need to hit on this year’s second round selection badly.  So, who should the Cowboys be thinking of when it is their turn to pick with the 47th overall choice?  Let’s take a look at three possible choices that Dallas could make that would all be a good start to reversing the trend.