With just one day before the draft, I decided that I'd make the case for who I believe the Cowboys will draft. As you can tell from the title, I'm going to my proverbial chips all in on the Sylvester Williams hand. Before I explain why I believe the pick is going to be Williams, allow me to clear a few things up.
1. Neither the title of this post, nor the explanation should be taken as an indication that I believe him to be the best player for us, specifically based on how I have identified need.
2. In speaking of "need" I would order the positions of need, based on position depth, production from previous seasons, and philosophical changes as -- the entire right side of the OLINE beginning with the center, safety (either FS/SS), all three linebacker spots, defensive tackle, defensive end and finally tight end.
Having established the previous points, let's examine why I believe Sylvester Williams will be the pick for the Dallas Cowboys:
As much as it pains me to
speak type these words, I truly don't believe a guard or tackle will be taken in Round 1. I have stopped repeating, "the Cowboys don't take offensive linemen in the first round" by simply pointing out Tyron Smith. The reason why I don't believe a guard or tackle will be taken in round one has little to nothing to do with history, but how they've evaluated (and paid) a particular player; his name is Ronald Leary. For those who would believe that I am endorsing him as the key to the offensive line's success, I'll refer you to No.1 above. What we have been able to understand from the years of Jerry Jones as the general manager is that once he is latched on to a player, it is almost impossible for him to let that player go and Leary fits the bill. If you consider Leary being paid an unusual amount of money as an UDFA and the confidence placed in the coaching abilities of Bill Callahan as it relates to the offensive line, it's easy to dismiss drafting a guard and perhaps losing him in 4-5 years. On that point, I don't agree with the strategy, but I'm saying I understand.
Safety to me was the most intriguing position in this draft, with names like Vaccaro, Elam, Reid, Rambo, Cyprien, Wilcox, etc teams in need of a safety our bound to find at least one. I truly believe that if the board falls just right, the Cowboys will pick a safety at 18, but as my uncle used to say, "if, IF, was a fifth we'd all be drunk." The year that Earl Thomas was drafted by the Seahawks, it was no secret that the Cowboys wanted Earl Thomas, badly. Kudos to Pete Carroll for coming and drafting/putting together what I believe to the best secondary in football -- we can debate who has a better one on a different post. I believe that the Cowboys would love to get (another Longhorn safety) because they missed on Earl Thomas. Kenny Vaccaro is the player I believe to be the prized pick of this draft, but sadly I don't believe he'll be the pick because of who's picking ahead of us. If - there goes that word again - Vaccaro was to go unpicked by the Titans, I don't believe he'll slide beyond the Saints, considering that Sean Payton has already stated that the Saints plan to bolster there defense through the draft. Rob Ryan is the new defense coordinator and while the experiment with him didn't work for a litany of reasons, I believe the Saints will look to draft an elite safety in Round 1, primarily because they don't have a second round pick. There's a still a possibility that they will take an OLB, in which case the debate between whether pass rushers allow for better coverage/turnovers or vice versa. I tend to believe that ball-hawking corners and safeties perform regardless of who is rushing the passer. The other reason I believe that the Saints will pick Vaccaro is because of what the Jets did this week; by trading Revis and securing another 1st Round Pick, the Jets can actually "fix" one of their more glaring weaknesses during the Rex Ryan era and that has been the pass rush. With guys like Ziggy Ansah, Barkevious Mingo,
This bring us to a look at our own roster. Jerry Jones stated, albeit foolishly, that because of depth on defense, the Cowboys would be looking to trade out of the 18 spot. The problem with that is, there aren't many players in this draft that I believe teams will reach for and I'm not sure if they'll find a partner that's willing to do the Texas-draft trade-two step with them this year. Also, given that aside from Sean Lissemore, there isn't anyone how I consider to be capable of stepping in for Hatcher or Ratliff if they were to become injured and Josh Brent's pending trial and suspension, the Cowboys, in my opinion, will select Sylvester Williams. I don't believe is the best player in the draft, but I consider him to be a better prospect than Sheldon Richardson and I don't believe that Shariff Floyd will be around when Dallas is on the board.
No matter the case, it's vitally important for the Cowboys to hit on the 1st three picks. No matter what, trust the board and draft accordingly. To me, the problem with the Cowboys has been too many "projects" have been drafted instead of contributors. If you're looking for proof, see guys like Robert Brewster, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, David Arkin, and Isaiah Stanback. Add to that the guys who have been drafted that we can label busts or misused players - Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, Tashard Choice, and Martellus Bennett - and the draft picture and constant free agent churning problem become more clear. With that said, I think Sylvester Williams would be a solid pick and he can be a force along the defensive line for years to come. It may not be a ringing endorsement, like standing on the table demanding we draft him, but I do believe that if the player I believe to be the No.1 target is gone, that Williams would very well be the pick and the Cowboys would be glad to have him.