Every NFL Draft is important, but when you can't use free agency to make upgrades then the pressure is really on. The Dallas Cowboys have been limited in what they could do this offseason via the free agent market. Stephen Jones has worked some of his magic, and the Cowboys did manage to bring in two players.
Justin Durant can be penciled in at the SAM linebacker position, or at least heat up the competition with Kyle Wilber and Alex Albright. Will Allen probably won't be penciled in as a starter, but he does offer the team depth, experience and special teams play.
After working out a new deal with Tony Romo, the Cowboys will probably free up enough room to make more additions in free agency, but it's really too late for them to bring in any sure-fire difference makers. If the Cowboys are truly going to improve their roster for the 2013 season, then it's going to come in the form of the draft. The pressure to have a good draft will be on in Dallas, so they must come out with at least three or four players who can contribute and make an impact for them.
Looking back at the 2006 and 2007 classes, out of 16 draft picks the Cowboys only hit on Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer and to some degree Doug Free. 2008 looked like a strong class at first, but now only Orlando Scandrick remains. We all know the complete failure that 2009 was, so by looking back we can see a change in the way the Cowboys have handled their recent drafts. The failures of those draft classes have brought a lack of depth and talent at certain positions. If you want to fault why there aren't enough pieces around Romo or the defense lacks playmakers, then you can place some of the blame for that on the failure to land talent in those drafts.
Since 2010, Dallas got themselves on the right path. The 2010 class brought superstars Dez Bryant and Sean Lee, but it also delivered a rotational player in Sean Lissemore. Dallas whiffed hard on their three other picks, but Bryant and Lee make up for those mistakes. In 2011, Dallas had one of their best drafts in recent memory when they added Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, Bruce Carter and Dwayne Harris.
In 2012, the trade for Morris Claiborne took away the opportunity of adding a potential starter in the second round, but they did add Tyrone Crawford and James Hanna. If Matt Johnson pans out, then the Cowboys have put together three consecutive successful campaigns in April. That is the type of success that not only helps the organization win in the present, but it also allows the vision of a long-term goal.
The Cowboys need to continue their recent draft success. If they do, then they can continue to build their organization up the right way and keep a long-term goal in mind. It's nearly impossible for a team to hit on every pick, but if you can add three or four players a draft, then you can drastically improve your football team.