The off season activities wont take place for a little while but that doesn't stop the mind from looking ahead. Here's a look at what I would like to see happen, that could realistically happen from FA, to the draft, to personnel decisions.
Prized FA pick up
I wont get in too depth on multiple FA's just the big fish. And that has to be one Henry Melton, Pro Bowl DT from the Chicago Bears. I understand the Cowboys cap strapped situation but believe the Jones's put their supreme cap skills into action and manage to get under with room to attract one big fish.
Melton, if not already, will become a hot commodity once free agency kicks in. What makes him a highly valued pick up is his ability as a dominant 4-3 DT. At 6'3 295 lbs he possess the size, quickness, and strength to man the 3 technique DT position perfectly. Not to mention he is coming off a 6 sack, pro bowl year in the same Tampa 2 defense that will be installed here in Dallas, while also being coached by the new D Line coach Rod Marinelli. In his brief career in the Tampa 2 he has a total of 15.5 sacks.
Keep Jay Ratliff
Now i completely understand and will not have one issue if they do intend to release Ratliff, really no need to go into as why. But from a business and football standpoint, I would restructure his contract given the leverage Dallas has on and off the field.
Its well known and over stated that Rat was being worn down as the NT in the 3-4 scheme and can benefit the most from the Tampa 2 switch. With the switch and restructured contract the hope is to get a more humbled, and healthier Ratliff, and we all know he is a factor when healthy.
Let Spencer walk in favor for draftee
Ezekiel Ansah DE/OLB BYU. Ansah is the explosive DE drawing comparisons to JPP. A former track guy running a best of 21.9 in the 200 meters Anash has the rare freakishly athletic body. He has the "raw" tag right now but during Sr Bowl week Coach Jim Schwartz had this to say
"Everybody keeps saying that he's raw but i keep seeing things like instinct and knocking down passes that doesn't look raw to me. It looks like he has a really good feel for the game"
Ansah would fill in for Spencer as the DE opposite of Ware. If all falls in place you have a starting front 4 of Ware, Ratliff, Melton, Ansah. Those 4 in front of Lee and Carter would be a sight to see. With rotational players Hatcher, Lissemore, Crawford, Bass, Price. Spears being a cap casualty. In my opinion that would be one hell of a talented roation to begin with.
Only worry is Ansah has a ridiculous combine after his impressive Sr bowl and shoots up past 18.
Rounds 2 and 3 address the Interior. Guard or Center.
No need to explain why right? Problem here is Jerry doesnt have the track record of drafting lineman back to back this high. But Garrett and who ever else is in Jerrys ear has to know if a D lineman is selected with the first pick OL has to follow and follow fast and hard.
With guys like Warmack and Cooper likely gone by the 2nd round here are a few guys that may still be in reach that would be an upgrade.
Larry Warford, G, Kentucky, : 6-3. Weight: 340.
Barrett Jones, C/G/T, Alabama : 6-5. Weight: 311.
Cyril Richardson, G/OT, Baylor : 6-5. Weight: 335.
Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State : 6-4. Weight: 320.
Alvin Bailey, OT/G, Arkansas : 6-5. Weight: 319.
Any combination of the 2 back to back will work fine for me. Personally I'd like to see Barret Jones drafted in the 2nd round to start at Center. The stud lineman for Alabama showcased hes a certified starter in the NFL. Then in the 3rd round Guard Gabe Jackson. Jackson had solid performances against Bama and LSU and was one of the key blockers for Johnny Football.
OT Smith, OG Livings,C Jones, OG Jackson, and OT Parnell ( after he beats Free out in the off season) would then be my preferred starting offensive line.
Off season outlook:
Sign DT Henry Melton
Let Spencer walk. Draft DE Ezikiel Ansah 1st round
Draft Barrett Jones and Gabe Jackson in 2nd and 3rd round.
There are many other issues that will be pressing like back up RB, S, and depth to name a few. But here you address the trenches which not only are even more pressing needs but where championships are won.