Considering the acquisitions of Brandon Carr, and Brodney Pool, as well as the release of Terrence Newman it would be easy to consider the secondary upgraded and look elsewhere when trying to determine the direction the Cowboy's might go on that fatefull weekend later this month. However PFF released some very interesting data recently that made me look at our defense differently.
The article is a look at the personnel packages used by each team in the NFL and what percentage of their defensive snaps they played each package. Check the Data here but I'll run down the data for the Cowboys after the jump, and break down what it means to me, going into the draft and the 2012 season.
The data for the Cowboys is below...
As you can see, Rob Ryan ran his base 3-4 defense onto the field 34% of the time, while going to some variation of a nickel package (5 DB's) 21% of the snaps, and using a dime (6 DBs) on 37%. They also lined up in a base 4-3 on 1% of their snaps, making them one of only 5 teams to use both the 3-4 and the 4-3 fronts on atleast 1% of their defensive snaps.
The point I want to emphasize here is the Cowboys spent a total of 58% of their snaps last year with 5 or more DB's on the field. (It's important to note that this data doesn't indicate alignment, but simply personnel on the field). Which speaks to the why Jason Garrett talks about considering O. Scandrick a starter on their defense. As of right now the Cowboys have 3 CB's on the roster. Considering most defensive adjustments involve adding corners not safeties. The boys, spend over a 3rd of their defensive snaps with 4 CB's on the field. This explains why we saw so stinking much of Alan Ball last year.
So as we take this data and apply it to the draft outlook, we have often heard, you can never have enough pass rushers. But if you are running 6 DB's onto the field 37% of the time that leaves you with 5 LB/DL on the the field. The dime package used most often by the Cowboys was the 2-3-6, the Cowboys are 7 deep on the DL, and 7 deep at LB but only 3 deep at CB, and 4 Deep at safety.
That gives us 14 bodies to fill 5 positions, and only 7 to fill the other 6 positions. I think the focus internally is less on "you can never have enough pass rushers," and more on "you can never have enough quality corners." With the amount of time that the Cowboys spend with 4 or more CB's on the field. I think we should expect to see 2 DB's taken in the top half of the draft this year. I would not be surprised at all to see Barron be the pick at 14, and if Gilmore is there I think he would be considered as well. If Barron's the pick in the first look for the 2nd or 3rd rounder to be a CB, and then look for them to go back to the well in the 5th round or so and go CB again.