While you will continue to hear about the Dallas Cowboys focusing on the best player available, remember that need will be an equal factor in the decision.
As arguments go, debating over drafting the best player available or focusing on need is akin to choosing between an edge rusher vs. secondary help to fix your pass defense. For the Dallas Cowboys both are big time needs.
The question will be whether or not they can afford to neglect either if a better player at a different position is available. This is especially true in the earlier rounds.
Regardless of how you feel about this team, it’s hard to ignore the need to improve defensively. The biggest need of all, of course, is the seemingly constant need to fix the pass defense.
Last year, the Cowboys finished 26th in passing yards allowed. They finished 27th overall in total interceptions. For a team so close to becoming a perennial Super Bowl contender, it’s the annual issue of most concern.
Dallas has had a top ten defense when it comes to passing yards allowed just twice in the last decade. The same goes for the number of times they have been amongst the leaders in interceptions.
Never, in the last ten years, have they accomplished that feat in the same season.
Remember this as the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine has come to an end and the mock drafts start dominating the landscape.
Yes, the Dallas Cowboys will try their best to draft the best player available. Make no mistake, however, that need will play a huge part in determining who that player will be.
Personally, I have the three biggest needs for the Cowboys in the following order:
- Defensive back
- Edge rusher
- Wide receiver
Looking at the roster, the reason I have the secondary as the greatest need is clear. There are only three corners and three safeties under contract for 2017. Looking at the free agent market, some of the Cowboys “in-house” options are projected to get abnormally big contracts.
On top of that, Rotoworld is projecting that cornerback Brandon Carr could command somewhere between $8-$11M per year on his next deal. For what it’s worth, they have Church and Claiborne both between $6.5-$8M per year.
All of a sudden, for a team with low salary cap availability, these numbers just do not fit for the Dallas Cowboys. The draft will need to be how they address this position.
Thankfully, this draft is loaded with talented, athletic players at cornerback and safety.
As for an edge rusher, the Cowboys “need” here is more about reliable talent than it is a body to fill a spot. Dallas have seven guys under contract on their defensive line for 2017.
The problem is that very few have proven to be prolific at getting after the quarterback. No one on the roster has more than thirteen career sacks or more than eight in a single season. For perspective, sixteen players had double-digit sacks last year. Forty-six had more than Cowboys leader Benson Mayowa.
It is clear that an upgrade in talent is necessary along the line.
So as the draft gets closer and closer and you continue to hear about the Dallas Cowboys drafting the “best player available,” remember this information. Yes, Dallas will draft a few extremely talented guys. Don’t be shocked, however, when need correlates with that process.