If a broken collarbone was the difference between 12 – 4 & 4 – 12, then drafting a quarterback 4th overall will make the Dallas Cowboys the 2016 Super Bowl Champions, right?
The 2016 version of the Dallas Cowboys will have a lot of new faces. Some reports would have you believe the only difference between the 12 – 4 team from 2014 and the 4 – 12 squad of 2015 was the removal of running back DeMarco Murray and quarterback Tony Romo‘s collarbone. Obviously, drafting a backup quarterback will cure everything and automatically make Dallas the 2016 Super Bowl Champions.
We eat, sleep, breathe and bleed blue and silver, so we know better. You don’t see those other “experts” evaluating the play of safety J.J. Wilcox or defensive tackle Nick Hayden. It shouldn’t be a secret that Pro Football Focus ranked Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne as two of the worst cornerbacks in the league. They can only mention if the Cowboys should make an effort to sign Greg Hardy.
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On the offensive side of the football, nobody mentions how poorly wide recevier Devin Street played when he received a fair amount of playing time. Wide out Brice Butler had a limited contribution but couldn’t remain healthy. The departure of special teams ace Dwayne Harris wasn’t replaced by Lucky Whitehead (6 receptions – 16 yards) because they didn’t throw to him downfield. Let’s talk about how under-utilized tight ends Gavin Escobar and James Hanna were used in our passing game – until practice squad quarterback Kellen Moore took the field.
There’s lots of room for improvement and no magical formula for success. That’s the beautiful thing about being a part of Cowboy Nation – we all want the same goal, even if we have different ideas of the best route. Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants) and Amari Cooper (Oakland Raiders) didn’t bring their teams a championship. Defensive ends J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney didn’t bring the Houston Texans a title. Is it offensive touchdown machines or pass rushers that fill a teams cabinet with Lombardi trophies?
With the Cowboys, if you want to draft offensively with Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott or Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell – the team will be better, so I’ll be happy. The defensive side has more room for immediate starters and I believe the fourth overall pick should be a starter. The Cowboys could draft defensive tackle DeForest Buckner of Oregon or Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller with the fourth overall pick and I’ll be happy.
This year, the season finale is represented by teams that exhibited balance on both sides of the football. It’s not rocket science – to win games, you have to outscore your opponent. The final two teams both held opponents to less an average of less than 20 points per game – Carolina Panthers (6th – 19.3) and Denver Broncos (4th – 18.5). The Broncos’ defense led the league in sacks (52), while the Panthers’ defense led the league in interceptions (24).
I believe in the old saying – Defense wins championships! So unless quarterbacks Carson Wentz (North Dakota State) or Jared Goff (California) can add a few sacks or interceptions to next year’s unit – I won’t be on board the “Cowboys need to draft a quarterback 4th overall” bandwagon and I don’t think you should be either.
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