Where are the Must Haves on the Roster?

The philosophy of trend lately has been to fill Must Haves via free agency (FA) and allow for a more BPA approach to the draft. In my mind I think you can classify must haves into two categories.

1. A player we know can start in the league even if the quality may be low

2. A serviceable and reliable backup.

This follows the two deep reasoning we have for most positions and allows for BPA in the draft since few positions are stacked up 3 deep. There are also a few positions like FB and RT where I think a serviceable backup doesn’t qualify as a must have. In those cases I filled the space in with an NA (Not Applicable). I was liberal with this classification because I think these spots are where we leave room for draft picks or make room for draft picks at other positions.

With that said below I try to identify where the Cowboys may see their Must Haves.



1 Romo

2 Orton


1 Bryant

2 Harris


1 Austin

2 Coale


1 Beasley

2 NA


1 Murray

2 Must Have


1 Vickers

2 NA

TE 1

1 Witten

2 Must Have

TE 2

1 Hanna

2 NA


1 Smith

2 Parnell


1 Free

2 NA


1 Berny

2 Cook


1 Livings

2 NA


1 Costa

2 Kolwow



1 Ware

2 Must Have


1 Ratliff

2 Lissy


1 Hatcher

2 Spears


1 Spencer

2 Crawford


1 Church

2 McCray


1 Must Have

2 Johnson


1 Carr

2 Scandrick


1 Claiborne

2 Must Have


1 Moore

2 NA


1 Carter

2 Connor


1 Lee

2 Albright


1 Must Have

2 Wilber

Free, Vickers, Spears, Connor – Cutting any of these guys creates a need but also opens up the cap room to fulfill that need so I think they serve as good placeholders even though they may be cut.

Offensive Line – It’s obvious that one or two players should be added but with marginal players like Arkin and Leary being left off, I feel comfortable leaving 2 NAs. It’s typical to carry 9 OLmen so leaving off a G or T isn’t too unordinary. Don’t crucify me for my assessment, it may not mean that the Cowboys will be targeting OL in FA but it does leave an excellent opportunity to pick one up in the draft.

Backup Must Haves at TE, HB, CB2, and WDE – these spots could be filled either before or after the draft. Definitely the Boys should jump on good deals and filling all of these spots would not be a bad idea. The rule of thumb being very little or no signing bonuses so that dead money is avoided, and acquisitions can be cut if need be. Lots of nice low level prospects and even some of our free agents should be considered here.

Starter Must Haves at S and SOLB – as much as we talk about DL and OL, we have serviceable guys there. Not best case scenarios but even the worst of them, Berny, has started often in the league and even looked good at times. There isn’t anything sure fire about Matt Johnson, Wilber and Albright starting at either S or SOLB. Yes Albright showed us a lot last year but this is a new position, in a new scheme, and he doesn’t exactly fit the mold of an SOLB. A little bit better prospects should be considered at these spots. My personal favorites are Kenny Phillips and Nick Roach.

These must have do not load us up at any position to the point where a draft pick couldn’t make the roster. It also presents a minimum level of talent tolerable at each position. Tuesday we will see if the Cowboys have made a similar assessment. I'll talk FA targets in the comments.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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