We know the Cowboys want to find studs in the middle of the defense. Starting at the nose, moving to inside linebacker and on to safety, I've been trying to look at the picks they own and then look at past drafts to see if quality can be found where the Cowboys are currently standing or if a move up or down will bring them the player they want.
I took a look around the league and tried to find five guys that I felt were very solid players at those positions. I didn't look specifically for Pro Bowl players but I didn't shy away from a player just because he was good enough to make the Pro Bowl.
The criteria was simple;
- a) Plays in a 3-4
- b) Current player
- c) I'd like to have the guy on my team this year
That's it. You may not agree with my choices. You may point out someone who is better. You may feel the sample is too small. That's fine.
Like I said, I didn't say these were the top 5 at their position - they are just guys who I would want to play this position on my team this year and which round they were drafted.
Casey Hampton - Steelers - 1st
Vince Wilfork - Patriots - 1st
Jamal Williams - Chargers - 2nd supplemental
Shaun Rogers - Browns - 2nd
Kris Jenkins - Jets - 2nd
Patrick Willis - 49ers - 1st
Ray Lewis - Ravens - 1st
Bart Scott - Jets - UDFA
Bradie James - Cowboys - 4th
David Harris - Jets - 2nd
Troy Polamalu - Steelers -1st
Bob Sanders - Colts - 2nd
Ed Reed - Ravens - 1st
Adrian Wilson - Cardinals - 3rd
Kerry Rhodes- Jets - 4th
What's the quick take away from this exercise? Solid nose tackles are hard to come by and the law of supply and demand pushes the limited number of big fellas up into the top two money rounds. Is it likely the Cowboys will pick up a NT with their pick at 51? I doubt it since there are at least a couple of teams (Miami and Kansas City) who want to have a plugger in the middle and they pick before we do. If Ron Brace is available anywhere near the 51 spot - I think we almost have to try to go get him. When all is said and done we will probably stand pat with Ratliff and look for a back up NT in the middle rounds.
Inside linebacker looks like a position that we might have a better chance of finding a solid player with our current draft position. In this brief exercise you see the obvious stars from the top rounds being supplemented by a mid-round and a free agent.
Based only on this quick glance the safety position also looks like we have a good shot at finding a contributor with our current selections.
I'm still in favor of packaging our late round picks and trying to trade up, however I feel good about our chances of landing a solid safety and inside linebacker this year. If I'm right and the Cowboys decide to go Safety and ILB with their first couple of selections- who do the Cowboys covet most?