In a year where the Cowboys make everyone they play against look like hall-of-famers, in a year where there doesn't seem to be enough intelligence or emotion on the field, in a year where if we have to see Wade Phillips' dumbfounded expression one more time we'll go on a homicidal rampage, it's time to look at the positives of this horrible, horrible year.
Oh, yes. It's time to debate the newest head coach! It's time to look at some of the best players in college football! It's time to hope the Bills win and the Cowboys lose so that the Cowboys can pick sooner! Wait, did I just say that?
Unfortunately, we're not going to break .500 this year. It just won't happen without a series of miracles, a few impossibilities, and lots of sacrificed goats. So what we can hope for is a top three pick. The all-or-nothing approach. If by some fortune the Cowboys are able to come away with the number one overall, endless opportunities present themselves. But any of the top three would do wonders for this team.
So, I'll throw out a few guys at different positions -- some that you may consider blasphemous to even consider -- to help find our next playmaker, hopefully.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford:
This player may not even come out for this April's draft, but if he keeps up at this pace he would be insane not to. There are some who say this kid is a better prospect than Peyton Manning. Who wouldn't kill to have someone even close to his level of play on the field every Sunday?
Now, I'm sure you've seen the talked about scenarios where the Cowboys might use such a pick if they could get it to take a king's ransom, comparable to that of the Cutler or Roy Williams deals. But, and this is where I begin spouting my blasphemous statements, maybe this is a guy the Cowboys should take. In all likelihood, they will have a new coach coming in and even if they don't start Luck immediately, having him for the future and being able to shop he or Romo would be great for this organization. It hurts to say it, but Romo is only getting older.
Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU:
Another young player who may opt not to come out this year, but is again (though more disputably) at the top of his position in terms of draft stock. He's big, he's mean, he makes plays, and he's fast. One of those rare talents at cornerback, standing at 6'1", this guy will be able to hold up against the giants running around at WR these days.
This pick may make the most sense out of any of them. Something has to be done about our secondary, without a doubt, and yet again we have a starter here who is getting up in the years. Some more youth and freakish athleticism may be just what the doctor ordered for a defense that went from dominant to pathetic over the summer.
Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska:
The top senior CB in the nation and right up there with Patrick Peterson in terms of ability, Amukamara would be an excellent addition to our oddly named projected secondary (Owusu-Ansah and Amukamara -- say that three times fast!) sure to give any commentating crew fits on Sunday. A CB dedicated to run support who stands at a solid 5'11", Amukamara will get his hands on some balls if someone decides to throw his way. He makes tackles, he keeps the football away from the receiver, and he looks awesome doing it.
Peterson and Amukamara are 1a and 1b, both are incredibly talented, and some would say better than any CB's in the 2010 draft. I'd be happy to have either if the Cowboys decided that CB was where they wanted to go.
Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina:
Despite being indefinitely suspended by the NCAA, Quinn is one of the most freakishly athletic linemen in the draft. A stout 6'5", 270, Quinn is big and fast enough to play OLB or DE if a coaching change brings back the 4-3. Regardless, this guy can come in and be a game changer for any defensive line. Here's what his statline in '09, his sophomore year, looked like: 19 Tackles for Loss, 11 Sacks.
Now, I know we have D-Ware and Spencer rushing the edges for us with the promising Butler backing them up, but you can never have enough excellent pass rushers, especially not the big, freakish ones that look like they can swallow QB's and RB's.
Marcell Dareus, DT/3-4 DE, Alabama:
A guy projected for the Top-5 by some, Dareus has the ability to play in either defensive scheme and be dominant (for those of you who missed his sophomore campaign last year, he had 6.5 sacks in four starts). This is the type of interior rusher you want beside Ratliff, regardless of what scheme the Cowboys play in. It doesn't hurt that he fills a spot that three of our contract year players do.
Nick Fairley, DT/3-4 DE, Auburn:
When he was a child, a high school QB took his lunch money from him at school. Now, grown up, Fairley is getting his revenge against any QB who dares to stand in his way. At least that's the way I'm telling it. This guy is on a mission to go number one overall, absolutely destroying offensive lines for Auburn this year. This guy might jump up to the top-5 on many scouting boards by the end of the year. He's a monster out there and has the stats to prove it (8 sacks so far, 1 INT, in on 43 tackles according to ESPN's Stats). Ndamukong who?
That tops off the first round prospects you should be salivating over this high in the draft. But what about round number two? Well, here's a few guys who may be there (though the linemen may get pushed up the board, as the class this year is very weak in comparison to previous years)...
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State:
The athletic, technically sound 6'6" mammoth of a man, Sherrod, may just be within reach of the Dallas Cowboys at the top of round two. While the interior line positions need a major overhaul, Marc Colombo has to be replaced after this year one way or another. Nobody on the line looks outstanding, but Doug Free has done a very good job at the left tackle position so far, so Sherrod could be another athletic tackle playing across from him, giving the line more mobility.
Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida:
The twin brother of Maurkice, who came out in last year's draft, Mike rates very highly as a guard. Unfortunately, he hasn't looked quite as natural at the center position, but it's possible that he can play all three interior line positions in a pinch. He's strong, athletic, and big enough at 6'5" 320 to get the job done for us in our power blocking scheme. He could easily go in the first round like his brother, but hopefully other teams decide they have more positions of need than a guard...
Marcus Cannon, G, TCU:
A solid guard prospect out of TCU, Cannon likely will have to move in from his tackle position once he reaches the NFL. He's a physically dominant player and who doesn't love to get a good player from the state of Texas with a name like "Cannon" on their team? For many of the same reasons listed previously, the Cowboys need to take a look at some interior line guys this draft. It won't be long before Davis and Gurode are piles of dust in cleats. Why not get one of the top prospects for this position right at the top of round 2?
Stefen Wisniewski, OG/C, Penn State:
A natural center, Wisniewski is willing to fight down in the trenches. He wins his leverage battles and can move out in space, he would be a great fit for a zone blocking scheme. But on the o-line, any fighter would be a welcome addition. He's done a great job for Penn State and qualified for the Big-Ten first team last year. We could always use more of these lunch-pail Penn State players on the team, right?
Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA:
An athletically gifted safety, Moore could provide that ball-hawking presence that Wade Phillips has denied us for so long. He's having a down-year as of yet, so it's more than likely he'll be available for us in the second round after looking like a sure-fire first rounder heading into the year. He may opt to stay for his senior campaign if he can't get it together. Nonetheless, he's shown his talent with 10 interceptions a last year. He's fast, active, and stays around the ball. If we can't find an upgrade to one of our safety positions and the coaching staff isn't sold on Church, Ansah, and the rest of that ragtag group, then Moore could be suiting up for an underachieving Dallas D next year.
Von Miller, OLB/3-4 ILB, Texas A&M:
He's tough, he makes plays, and he's going to give you everything he's got. He also has good pass-rushing ability, great for "creative" 4-3 teams. He should be able to move inside for a 3-4, where he would be able to help improve the success of our ILB blitzes. At this point, Jason Williams appears to be a bust and a replacement for both Brooking and James (whichever Lee doesn't overtake) has to come from somewhere. He should be available for us at the top of round two.
I've made it through all of the draft prospects I think we should be looking at acquiring in the draft for one reason or another and the "who's the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys" discussion has been done to death. I have no clue who it will be and I don't imagine it'll be someone we want, but it's fun to imagine a REAL head coach coming in, one that doesn't divert to coach Jerry on every decision in the game. That will never happen, though. And if it does, they won't last more than the few years it takes us to forget about the Wade Phillips fiasco.
Bill Cowher? Well, he won a Super Bowl and helped put together one of the best defenses in the game...which falls apart the moment Troy Polumalu goes down, but hey! Any coach is better than none.
Jon Gruden? I don't know. He's a passionate guy, the exact opposite of Wade Phillips. He's had success before and he'd love to come coach the Dallas Cowboys...or anyone, if you hear him talk. Everyone's a HOF'er, everyone's going to the Super Bowl...
John Fox? Honestly, I know nothing about this guy, but people seem to think he would be a good fit here. He likes to run the ball and he wants his defense to play 60-minutes of hard-nosed football. He should be one of the hot coaching commodities, according to random other people and media types.
Some coordinator? That seems plausible. Not many people want to come be Jerry Jones' puppet, so a young, upstart coordinator looking to move up in the world seems like a natural fit!