With the Dallas Cowboys spending a first-round pick on Felix (Jamie Dukes: "THE CAT") Jones and all of the hype surrounding T.O. and Tony Romo, the Cowboys were the clear favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Somehow, some way, the Cowboys self-destructed.
Many people question if Romo is vocal and assertive enough. Some point the finger at Wade Phillips as an overrated head coach. Some just think the Cowboys choke for no reason at all. Whatever it is, we all know this team is way too talented to underachieve like they have in the past. With T.O. gone, will it bring the locker room together?
The Cowboys gave up their first- and third-round picks in the Roy Williams trade. Let's get to their mid-round draft strategy and needs:
Strong Safety: Gerald Sensabaugh must be upgraded in the defensive backfield. With the release of safety Roy Williams, I think we could see the Cowboys address this position in the second round. Oregon's Patrick Chung likes to press and stick his nose in there and stuff the run, and is decent in coverage. Missouri's William Moore had a disappointing senior year and Senior Bowl week, but would be a very solid value in the second round. Chip Vaughn of Wake Forest might be available for the Cowboys in the third round if they wanted to trade up for him, or just might fall to the fourth round.
Inside Linebacker: I think it is safe to call Bobby Carpenter a bust since he has made no impact in the league. The Cowboys should be looking to add a future starter on the interior of their 3-4 defense. Texas Christian's Jason Phillips is very instinctive, great at diagnosing the run, and more athletic than given credit for. Jasper Brinkley has timed well this offseason with a 4.72 40 at 252 pounds. He is an outstanding fit with his size in the 3-4 defense. Both might be on the board in the fourth round, but Dallas might have to move up into the third to get one of them.
Offensive Line: What you look for in the mid rounds is versatility. The worst thing you can get is a one-position player who is not an entrenched starter. South Carolina's Jamon Meredith can play both guard and tackle, and has the athleticism you look for in the mid rounds. Duke Robinson could probably start at left guard immediately over Kyle Kosier; Herman Johnson has the great bulk Jerry Jones loves and is a mirror image of Leonard Davis.
Wide Receiver: There are trade rumors regarding Miles Austin. Even so, with the loss of T.O., the Cowboys might be looking for a developmental receiver in the mid rounds. Florida's Louis Murphy, Washington State's Brandon Gibson, LSU's Demetrius Byrd, and Clemson's Aaron Kelly might all be options for Dallas in the third to fifth rounds.
I do not see Dallas' draft having a big impact on their season. However, you can never deemphasize the importance of any draft because if the Cowboys can manage to find a starter or two, it will impact their team greatly in the long term.