Now that I am not coaching college football, I get my football fix reading everything related to the Dallas Cowboys. I coached on the Offensive side of the football at a the 1-A Level. I even have a few former players on active rosters in the NFL (yes, they overcame my coaching). BTB, dallascowboys.com and ESPN Dallas are my primary sources of information. However, I trust my eyes over most writers/analysts with the lone exception, Mr. Bryan Broaddus... Broaddus is my favorite and he has access that none of us can match.
Anyways, now that I have made my introduction, I would like to give my perspective on the Cowboys and the upcoming draft. There are a number of different ways we can go with our 1st round selection (16/17). I believe that 3 "mediocre" (Richard Sherman voice) QB's will be drafted ahead of our spot. Manziel, Bortles and Bridgewater are all underwhelming and I don't think will have very good careers in the NFL. Bortles is this years "Locker/Ponder/Tannehill" guy. Good measurables, but I just don't see him ever elevating his game to be a top 20 QB in the NFL. Manziel is too small and too emotional. The comparisons to Russell Wilson begin and end with their height. They have polar opposite mental makeup. Don't believe the hype. Bridgewater is the best of the bunch, but I just don't see him ever being elite. So, by teams reaching for a QB, I believe we should have some nice options at pick 16 or 17. Count me in the "draft a Safety" camp. I do think Wilcox was actually playing pretty well before his knee injury, but we shouldn't put a band-aid on an open wound. Most draft guru's have Pryor and Clinton-Dix as the two Safety's worthy of a 1st round selection. I think Clinton-Dix is a good player, but I think he benefited greatly playing under Saban and the talent around him at Alabama. Maybe his unique/catchy name brought more attention to him than his play would merit (just a theory). I like Pryor for our team and I think he would be a great long-term solution. He has the size and skill set to flourish in the Cover 2 scheme.
Defensive line is the other position that most people would say is a critical need. I'm projecting a little bit, but I would say that Clowney, Nix, Barr, and Mack are gone before we pick. Donald blowing up the combine might have put him just out of our reach as well. Jernigan might be the best D lineman available at our selection, but Marinelli might think of him the same way he viewed Sharrif Floyd (a non-penetrating gap player). I see us trading back out of our pick if Donald and Pryor are both gone. If we stay at 16/17, I think the player we get might surprise a lot of people. OT Zack Martin, TE Eric Ebron, or WR Marquise Lee. Martin is going to be a solid pro for a long long time. What a fantastic young/talented O line we would have if we brought Martin into the fold. He could even kick inside to OG initially and then take over for Free in a few years. Martin has very good knee and hip bend and plays with good leverage, power, and technique. Ebron is a freak and could be the long-term replacement for Witten. Escobar is slower than molasses and his selection in the 2nd round still pisses me off. I think the writing is on the all that Miles Austin will be let go as a June 1 cut. Marquise Lee is a much better player than Keenan Allen and Robert Woods, both had solid rookie seasons. Lee could come in Day 1 and contribute in a big way for our offense. I'm a little bit surprised by his so-so 40 yard time at the Combine, but on tape he plays at a different speed. I expect him to run a better time at his Pro Day.
I noticed I got a little long winded, but that is my initial thought process on the 1st round. I can't wait for the upcoming draft and I will elaborate on a complete 7 round Mock Draft when the moment is right. It's still a little too early to project past the 1st round.