NFL Draft 2010: A Pre-Draft Breakdown of the Dallas Cowboys Roster

When Sunday rolls around, the Cowboys will have some new players on their roster. It can be argued that all 22 of the team's starting positions are set, but there are some spots that could use some competitive upgrades. Before the 2010 NFL Draft kicks-off at 7:30 EST tonight, let's try one more time to narrow down which positions will welcome new faces after the draft's conclusion.

To keep this simple, let's stick to Very Low, Low, Moderate, High, and Very High designations for each position.

Offense

QB: Jerry Jones has already stated that it's highly unlikely this will be a position the team addresses in the draft. With only six selections, I believe him. Tony Romo has continued to improve his game, Jon Kitna is the veteran backup, and they've got their developmental guy in Stephen McGee.

Need: Very Low

RB: The Hydra. The Three-Headed Monster. Smash, Dash & Tash. Whatever you call the Cowboys' talented trio of Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice, it doesn't matter. They all have roles in the offense and all three can start for this or a number or other teams.

Without a trade happening, it's hard to see the Cowboys being able to fit a fourth guy on the 53.

Need: Very Low

FB: Deon Anderson has had his run-ins with the law, but he's all they've got at the position. Nevertheless, Jason Garrett seems to favor using his TEs in FB-type roles. Only one FB will make the roster, if that.

Need: Moderate

TE: Jason Witten is considered one of the best, if not the best, in the league. Martellus Bennett will be coming off a sophomore slump, but is still considered to have potential. As a rookie, John Phillips contributed regularly to both special teams and the offense, and he did so in solid fashion.

Need: Very Low

OT: A lot of questions here. Can Doug Free replace Flozell Adams at LT? Will Marc Colombo be the Boston Brawler on the right side, or will speed rushers get the best of him? Backing both of them up is Pat McQuistan and maybe Robert Brewster if he's not used exclusively at guard.

Need: Very High

OG: "Bigg" Leonard Davis will again be depended upon, as he can still play at a high level. No doubt the club would like to bring in someone to compete with LG Kyle Kosier. Currently Robert Brewster is the best hope for that. Cory Procter is the other backup behind both guard positions.

Need: Very High

C: Andre Gurode is considered by many to be the best in the NFC. Like the rest of the starters not named Free, Gurode is no spring chicken.  It might be a tad early to draft his eventual replacement, but any center would likely also compete at guard. And, Cory Procter is the only backup here if RFA Duke Preston does not return.

Need: Low

WR: Jerry Jones and now more recently, Tony Romo, have gone on record saying they like what the Cowboys have here. Miles Austin is the man. For whatever reasons you want to come up with, Roy Williams gets another year to prove himself.

Kevin Ogletree looks like he has game. Sam Hurd signed his tender, but he will have competition during training camp from practice squaders, Manny Johnson and Jesse Holley. And Patrick Crayton has continued to be Mr. Solid. Evidently, other teams have been taking note of his value to the team.

Patrick Crayton, who sometimes gets forgotten about around here, is valued around Valley Ranch to the point where some teams have called about a trade, but Dallas declines to trade him.

This group looks like it has potential. Another playmaking option sure wouldn't hurt; though, it probably won't surprise many of us if they walk out of this weekend without a new wideout.

Need: Moderate

 

Defense

NT: Jay Ratliff just may be the best in the league. But behind him is Junior Siavii and...Junior Siavii and...well, he's the team's only option. Some of you want a big, slug-of-a-run stopper to rotate in on running downs. Some just want a high motor backup to give "Rat" a breather, to compete with Siavii.

Is finding a backup enough to warrant spending a draft pick here? Maybe.

Need: Moderate

DE: For now, the team looks set to offer the same rotation as last year. Igor Olshansky had a strong first season with the Cowboys. The other starter, Marcus Spears, recently told DC.com that he might soon be playing for another team.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Spears said he is preparing himself for what could be his final days with the only team he's ever known.

"Probably on draft day or during draft day, I think something might happen," Spears said. "Just being 100 percent honest, it's a possibility. I don't know that. I'm not saying this for speculation. But basically what I'm saying is that I am prepared for whatever happens."

Behind them, Stephen Bowen may be the favorite to win Spears' job should a trade occur. Jason Hatcher, though, would give him some tough competition. Waiting in the wings is practice squad guy Marcus Dixon.

Need: Low

OLB: DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are studs. Backups Victor Butler and Brandon Williams are said to have potential. Young vets, Curtis Johnson and Steve Octavien, make the position looked stacked. Still, a Wade Phillips 34 is heavily dependent on its outside pass rushers, so there's always a chance of the Cowboys taking another DE/OLB 'tweener.

Need: Low

MLB: Keith Brooking should have enough in the tank for 2010, but how about '11?. Bradie James is not spectacular, but a solid defensive captain. Behind them, it's Bobby Carpenter, Jason Williams, and Stephen Hodge. If you consider that Carpenter may not be with the team long-term, and Hodge still has to prove he can make the 53, that just leaves Williams.

Need: High

CB: Mike Jenkins is the man here. On the other side, veteran Terence Newman is coming off an injury free season in which he made the Pro Bowl. Orlando Scandrick, minus the two Giants games, locked down the slot. If anything happened to any of these three guys, Alan Ball can step right in.

This is a pass-happy league, though. And prior to last season, it seemed as if the Cowboys could never keep both starting CBs on the field at the same time.

Like WR, this is a position in which a player's KR/PR skills could also factor into the team drafting him.

Need: Moderate

FS: The Cowboys depth chart currently lists Alan Ball as the starter with second-year man Mike Hamlin as the backup. While Ball filled in nicely for recently released starter, Ken Hamlin, he's more in the mold of the CB/FS 'tweener. And isn't M.Hamlin more of a strong safety?

Patrick Watkins could also compete for playing time here.

Need: Very High

SS: Jerry Jones said that the Cowboys are looking to sign Gerald Sensabaugh to a contract extension. Good. He proved to be a valuable free agent pickup prior to last season, and it looks as if the Cowboys are set here for a few years. Mike Hamlin and Watkins are the backups.

Need: Low

 

Special Teams

Kicker: David Buehler, he's our man! If he can't do it, Conner Hughes can!?! We sure about any of this? Hell no. They may not draft one, but nobody has this job as of yet.

Need: Very High

Punter: Mat McBriar. 'Nuff said.

Need: Very Low

KR: If Felix Jones is the starting running back, it's highly unlikely he will continue his duties here. Kevin Ogletree perhaps? How about Cletis Gordon? Titus Ryan, anyone?

Need: High

PR: Patrick Crayton is efficient. Even though he ran two back for scores in '09, I'm sure the team wouldn't mind a more dynamic threat back there. Manny Johnson has been said to have served as the scout team's PR guy all year. He'd have to make the 53 to have a shot here though.

Need: Moderate

 

According to this breakdown, if the Cowboys draft based on needs, their priorities will be at OT, OG, FS, MLB, and K. Of course, if a player were traded leading up to or during the draft, it would change the complexity of his respective position. For example, if Marcus Spears is traded, that would move DE needs up a notch from Low to Moderate.

Any of the Moderate level needs could be addressed in the draft if positional value falls to the Cowboys. The positions of FB, WR, NT, CB, and/or a return guy all have the potential of seeing new faces come Sunday.

As of now, the only positions we can scratch off our wish lists are QB, RB, and TE (I doubt anybody's been scouting punters). And it might surprise us if the Cowboys draft a DE or OLB. With higher needs elsewhere, it would be tough to justify not addressing those first.

The draft isn't all about need. It's also about value. I think we would all be satisfied if the Cowboys picked for value in this deep draft. By Sunday, we will have a glimpse of the team's plans for the future. It's almost time.

Happy Draft Day!

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