From a pundit’s stand point, it’s been very chaotic offseason leading up to this year’s NFL Draft. The results can be seen in the wide variety of mock drafts that have the Cowboys going, FS, DT, OL and even DE in the 1st round. "I’d like to share with you a revelation I’ve had in my time here. You see most mammals develop a natural equilibrium with their surround…", wait that’s not it. Most draft experts agree that the Boys need help along the DL, but I believe they operate from a false premise: That we need a penetrating 3-techinque. I think we already have that player on the squad and having him on the squad sets the team up to solve its most pressing issue.
So let me lay down (4) points that lead me to a single conclusion, a metaphorical "4 point stance":
Point 1: Jay Ratliff is a 3-technique. Simply stated, he’s too light in the backside to be a 1-technique. Really he’s always been miscast as a NT is the 3-4. Ask yourself, why was he effective as the NT all these years? He could penetrate into the backfield and be disruptive. Sounds like a 3-technique to me.
Point 2: There is no starting 1-techinique on the team. Jason Hatcher is a 3-technique too. What did I say about Ratliff? Repeat it here. Same with Lissemore. While I think the Cowboys are fine with Durant (SLB), Johnson (FS) and Livings (OG) as potential starters with an eye toward the draft to upgrade each. There is NO ONE on the roster that could start as the 1-tech DT. Not Calloway, Not Price and Brent is out this season.
Point 3: There is outstanding depth at the 1-technique in this year’s draft. Let’s start with the Williams boys. Jesse from Alabama and Brandon from Missouri Southern. Both are 3rd round picks. The argument could be made that Hankins (OSU), Logan (LSU) or Hill (PSU) can be had in the late 3rd / early fourth.
Point 4: Demarcus Ware needs a space-eater next to him as the WDE so that he can work against the LT in one-on-one situations.
So what am I driving at? Ratliff is the 3-tech and Dallas needs a 1-tech and since 1-tech is deep this year, I think the draft will unfold like:
Round 1 – OG, Chance Warmack. He’s a plug and play OG that pushes Livings off the roster. I could see Fluker here as well, if both guards are off the board.
Round 2 – OL, Kyle Long. A lineman with position flex to either push Bernadeau to OC or Free/Parnell to the bench.
Round 3 – DT, Jonathan Hankins. A massive 1-technique at 320lbs whose best at tacking on block and will free up Ratliff to be a backfield disruptive force.
Round 4 – FS, Shamarko Thomas. Above average closing burst to play centerfield and the deep half coverage’s need in the Tampa 2 defense.
Round 5 – RB, Stepfan Taylor. Good, quick feet with the ability to read and set up blocks. Took over as the center point of the offense after Andrew Luck left.
Round 6 – TE, DC Jefferson. Good sized blocking TE / Adequate pass catcher with limited speed.