There should be one guiding principle that answers this question this year: can the Cowboys find a difference maker at number 9? We all know the priorities. The cowboys need someone to replace Newman soon. They need help at both safety positions (Lord knows Alan Ball is not the answer). The right side of the line needs to be replaced. Then there are the defensive ends. Replacements for Marian the Librarian would be good. Ditto for Roy Williams if he doesn't return, especially if Hurd leaves.
You wish Jerry Jones had about 9 picks in the top 10.
But he doesn't and won't, and I pray he doesn't have one again, at least not as a result of the Cowboys losing a lot of games.
I'm split a lot on the priorities. On the one hand, with an upgraded offensive line, the Cowboys have an opportunity to be the most explosive offense in the NFL. Would it surprise anyone if Dez and Miles each had 1k yards or more? Or if Romo had 40+ TDs? Or if the team averaged more than 30 points a game? Wouldn't it be great to see Romo sit back in the pocket and pick teams apart now and then (rather than get pounded into hamburger)? How about an actual hole for Jones now and then?
The reason the team is so good is that there are at least five and maybe six difference makers on offense. There's Dez. There's Miles. There's Romo and Witten. And maybe there's Jones (I sure thought so after 2009). So if Romo has time and the line can open actual holes for Jones, watch out.
On the other hand, there doesn't appear to be a hall of fame type offensive line talent. And Dallas has been aweful at drafting lineman, period.
Plus, who on the defense is really a difference maker? Certainly, there's Ware. No question. Right now, he's on track for a first ballot Hall of Fame entry.
In 2009, Spencer in the last half of the season was a difference maker. Jenkins was on the verge. And that was all it took for the D to really clamp down. But would anyone bank on either of those guys for next year? Sure, they might. But they might not. Another maybe is Sean Lee. But can he stay healthy?
Maybe Bryan McCann or Akwasi Owusu-Ansah can step up. Both have skills and you have to like McCann's ability to step up and make game changing plays. Still, you really see that there are way too many prayers and not enough answers.
So you look at number 9 and you ask, can the Cowboys find a difference maker? I'd trade Spencer to move up a few spots. I'd even trade my third or even second round pick. But they have to find a difference maker. And there appear to be more of those on defense than offense this year. That's where they just might find someone besides Ware who puts gray hairs in the head of the opposition offensive coordinator and QB. It's that simple. And that hard.
Because you hope they don't have this high a pick again for a while.