I'm reposting this is a FanPost because the formatting didn't work as a FanShot and a commenter suggested I do so. Here's something to fill the time until Cowboys veteran minicamps start Tuesday and we get a much anticipated look at what Ronald Leary, Matt Johnson, and other 2nd year players can do and how our depth chart looks at safety, linebacker and in the trenches.
If those guys can come on strong and start most if not all of this season, the Cowboys will be in a much better position in the 2014 draft to go BPA rather than address immediate needs, including looking to the future at pass rusher and even...quarterback. While the 2013 draft class was said to be very weak at QB I'm wondering if like RB and WR the position has lost some of its luster and some QBs who are going to be very, very good are going to be available after the headline guys like Louisville's Terry Bridgewater (probably Jacksonville bound) and
future Philadelphia Eagles starter Tajh Boyd get drafted in the 1st.
1st DE Anthony Spencer is still on a franchised deal. That streak ends in 2014, as I suspect Dallas wants to use their cap room liberated by the Doug Free pay cut to extend Sean Lee. I’m also certain that the front office knew going into the 2013 NFL draft that 2014 promises to be a better class for defensive ends.
Texas' Jackson Jeffcoat is a name that keeps coming up here, primarily due to his father Jim getting drafted by the Cowboys in 1983. Plus it would be amusing to hear Jerry Jones reminiscing about the fact that the Cowboys only won one Super Bowl after Jim signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 1994. A whole generation has 'grown up' since the Super Bowl glory days of the 1990s (and since like most BTBers here that's when I started watching the Boys, it makes me feel older too). Nonetheless, I suspect Jackson is likely to slip a bit in the draft into the 2nd or 3rd round as the Texas defense still suffers from an anemic offense that doesn't put their pass rushers in the position to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback.
2nd DT Jason Hatcher’s deal is up. Jay Ratliff may soldier on until 2015, but we need depth even if Crawford comes on strong and makes Ratliff a passing downs rusher to prolong Jay's career. Once again as in 2013 the 2014 class is shaping up to be a deep if not necessarily spectacular draft for defensive linemen. A couple of names that appear likely to go in the mid to late 2nd are Florida State underclassman Timmy Jernigan, and Minnesota's Ra'shede Hagemen who could push himself into late 1st round draft territory with a monster senior campaign. At 6"5 300 Hageman would be a perfect replacement for Jason Hatcher and has a similar build -- but he's also going to be in demand by 3-4 teams. Of course, these projections assume that LSU DT Anthony Johnson is picked well before Dallas goes on the clock.
3rd QB This is especially important if we don’t get G.J. Kinne off the Philadelphia Eagles final cuts -- it’s time to push Kyle Orton even if a developmental QB is going to come with some flaws. Tyler Wilson slipping all the way into the 4th round in this draft surprised me. I think he's the type of QB, that if Dallas didn't have so many needs, Jerry would've loved to get. And not just because Wilson played at Arkansas. I was impressed with his film room clips with Jon Gruden and the film that showed Wilson threading the needle into the end zone. If Matt Flynn falters in Oakland as a lot of people expect the LSU-ex to do, watch out for Tyler to get some snaps by the end of 2013. Wilson is a tough, smart, pocket passer with some modest scrambling ability.
Currently the QB picture all depends on which underclassmen decide to declare early, as Walter Football 2014 lists Johnny Manziel and a lot of redshirt freshmen or sophomores who lit it up in 2012. but may be unlikely to declare until 2015. Highly productive seniors like Georgia's Aaron Murray without tremendous physical tools are going to be in the mix for backup jobs in the 3rd to 5th rounds.
One thing seems likely -- Romo's successor, whether drafted in 2014 or 2015, will likely be a dual threat QB of the type spreading through the college ranks, like Oregon's Marcus Mariota. But for our 2014 pick I think the Cowboys will be looking to draft a replacement for Orton rather than Romo.
4th CB If we cut Orlando Scandrick and promote B.W. Webb, this is the direction I’d go with our 4th for the second draft in a row. I agree with Kiffin you can never have enough cornerbacks, and Sterling Moore's contract will be up too in 2014. The nice thing about corners is that nowadays every draft has good ones, even in the mid-rounds.
There are simply too many prospects to list here, and since I doubt Dallas will draft a corner high I'd have to do some primo digging just to throw out some names. it is instructive however to point out that K.D. Drummond had Webb pegged for Dallas almost four months before the 2013 draft, and others were mocking Baylor WR Terrance Williams to us nearly two months out from draft day.
5th Could go with BPA at DT/DE here…or another RB if Demarco Murray keeps struggling with injuries in 2013. This pick probably depends on how our youngins along the DL like Ike Igbinosun and Ben Bass perform this year. One thing's certain -- some good running backs are going to slip into the 4th or 5th rounds. Again, running back is a position prone to sophomores and juniors busting out almost more than any other, hence the inability to produce some names at this point. Please feel free to contribute in the comments some names you think could make Dallas carry 4 backs (Murray, Randle, Lawrence the scatback/return man and the rookie) in 2014 -- just in case they opt not to extend Murray in 2015.
6th LB Kiffin's D could always use more competition at the backup LB spots as I’m not sold on Brandon Macgee, I think small school project Deon Lacey has a higher ceiling while Macgee has already peaked and could be moved to strong safety should Will Allen and Danny McCray both move on.
7th who knows? Another blocking TE probably if Andre Smith doesn’t work out at the 4th TE spot. Or another DT if Dallas goes DE in the 5th.
This is all predicated on Darrion Weems and/or Edwan Coughman developing at RG/RT behind Free and Parnell.