Draft season is nearly upon us, barring a miraculous defensive transformation from a defensive unit that currently ranks as the second worst........in NFL HISTORY!
With that in mind, I am taking a stab at forecasting what the Cowboys should do. Now that means it's rather unlikely that the Cowboys will actually do the right thing, since it has become painfully obvious that Jerry Jones can not resist shiny new toys. However, with the historically abysmal defensive performance of 2013, perhaps someone will put Jerry away in a serene, well-lighted room complete with plush wall-padding right before the 2014 NFL Draft begins. I believe there are more than a few of us passionate fans that would seriously consider doing something drastic if the Cowboys select a WR, TE, or even RB anywhere in the first 4 rounds of next years' draft.
The needs are OBVIOUS. DT Jason Hatcher is likely leaving via Free Agency, leaving the cupboard BARE at DT, and an obvious target for the first pick. For this Mock Draft, I am going to assume that the Cowboys reach an affordable 1-year deal with DE Anthony Spencer. He is coming off microfracture knee surgery, which will likely scare other teams away from offering big money for his services. This should allow the Cowboys to re-sign him for 1-year, which would give Spencer another opportunity to showcase that he is healed and then be able to cash in once free-agency starts in 2015.
I am also going to involve a trade in this mock. Whether it is realistic is up for debate, but it would alleviate some of the Cowboys' salary-cap issues and also bring in help at a position of dire need.
I will have the Cowboys selecting at #15 of each round, since I believe that they will finish the year at 8-8 and some other teams will win some meaningless games, dropping the Cowboys into that slot. Without any further ado, here it is.
Round 1) (#15) Ra'shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
A 6'6", 308 pound behemoth that has drawn comparisons to Richard Seymour, who is very disruptive and excels at rushing the passer from the interior of the line. Equally adept at playing the run. Hageman grew up rough, bouncing around in the Foster Care system before being adopted by a pair of Lawyers. Turned down offers from more prestigious Universities to stay close to home. Plays angry and has a mean-streak. Just what the Dallas defense needs.
Round 2) (#33) Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
TRADE!! Dallas gets salary-cap relief and a needed extra early pick by trading long-time franchise favorite DE/OLB DeMarcus Ware to the Houston Texans in exchange for Houston's 2nd and 6th round picks. Wade Phillips convinces Texans brass that Ware still has plenty of gas in the tank, and that the move back to 3-4 OLB should rejuvenate and prolong Ware's career. With the 2nd round pick acquired, the Cowboys add another needed piece to their abysmal defense in DE Kony Ealy , a prototypical DE at 6'5", 275 lbs., and is very good at both rushing the passer and playing the run. Had 11 sacks in Senior year at Missouri.
Round 2) (#47) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
DT Aaron Donald, a 6' 282 pound fire-hydrant with amazing speed for a man his size. Is said to have run a 4.8 40 yard dash. VERY fast off the snap, and has heavy and violent hands.Above average agility and flashes the ability to slip blockers at the line of scrimmage. Strong. Very Warren Sapp-like. Would have been top-ten pick if not for his size. Perfect for Kiffins 4-3 scheme.
Round 3) (#79) Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame
Dallas adds another young piece to their offensive line with Martin, who makes the switch from OT to G. Very good at both run and pass blocking. Smart, heady player in the Travis Frederick mold.
Round 4) (#111) Antone Exum, CB/S Virginia Tech
At 6' and 224 lbs., Exum is a bit of a CB/S 'tweener', but has 4.5 speed, is instinctive, and is a very fiery player. Injury concerns drop him to 4th round, where Cowboys roll the dice. Could end up being best pick of Cowboys draft, could get injured and be non-factor. Upside worth the risk at this juncture.
Round 5) (#150) Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma
Would have been drafted much higher if not for knee injury suffered in October. Excellent blocker, receiver out of backfield, great athlete, and a leader. Best FB on Dallas roster since Daryl "Moose" Johnston. GREAT value in 5th round.
Round 6) (#166)(from Houston) Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State
Cowboys get another defensive piece in Bullough, an under-rated blue-collar LB. Will back up oft-injured Sean Lee. Could surprise in camp and have staff consider moving Lee to OLB.
Round 7a)(#202) Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma
Williams falls due to character questions arising from dismissal from Oklahoma in 2013. Cowboys get value in 7th round, as Williams is an excellent change-of-pace back to complement Murray and Randle.
Round 7b)(#210) Bruce Gaston, DT, Purdue
Another pick thrown at the defensive line reclamation project.
Round 7c)(#245) Torin Harris, CB, USC
Late round flyer, hope for special teams piece. Could develop.
There you go folks. I think this kind of a draft would completely re-juvenate the Dallas Defensive Line, which in turn would make the Secondary look so much better.
I like it- what does Cowboys nation think???