FanPost

Some Early Analysis /w Offseason Strategy and Musings

Prior to Free Agency:


  1. Restructure Romo

  2. Restructure Ware (preferably with a pay cut)

  3. Restructure Carr

  4. Restructure Witten

  5. Restructure Lee

  6. Restructure Scandrick

  7. Cut Austin

  8. Cut Costa

  9. Cut Durant (I can probably afford to keep Durant around pending the result of the draft/free agency.)

  10. Cut Clutts


With these changes to the roster Dallas will have approximately $12 million dollars in cap space with around $5 million needed for the new rookie class; so, essentially Dallas will have ~$7 million in operating funds for free agency. I realize this pushes some of this money down the road, but your window with Tony is probably two more years and by 2016 the cap will rise enough that they can probably bite the bullet then without having the roster decimated.


Free Agency:

Lamarr Houston: I think Houston’s best position is as a 3-tech DT. He has DE pass rush skills on a 3-DT frame. He can probably be a 6-8 sack guy at DT and would form a great rotation with Crawford, with both players likely rushing on third downs. ($6 million per year average with a $4 million dollar first year tag.)


Draft:


By grabbing Houston in FA there is no must have position in the draft. The Cowboys would have Ware, Houston, Crawford, and Selvie as the main four defensive linemen which is OK and could definitely be improved.


Dallas’ focus in the draft should be smart maneuvering to add strategic depth to the team.


1st Round Analysis: Unless a very highly rated prospect falls to Dallas, i.e. Barr, Mack, or Watkins for example, the Cowboys should most likely look to trade down. If they stay at 16/17 the safeties offer the best value.


The best option for a trade down is with San Francisco which represents a 350 point differential. That equates to receiving their later second round pick. We might have to pitch in a 5th or 4th rounder next year. San Francisco would be looking to come up for a defensive lineman like Nix, Tuitt, or Ealy, or one of the safeties to replace Whitner to pair with Reid. Also, we could find a suitor in Cleveland if Derek Carr is still on the board.


1st (acquired from San Francisco) : For this pick there should be a handful of targets: Zack Martin, Timmy Jernigan, Aaron Donald, Dee Ford and Ryan Shazier are the best scheme fits, and I think the best player for the Cowboys at #30 is…


1st - Ryan Shazier WLB Ohio State: Shazier is an amazing play maker. Shazier, Wilber, Holloman, and Carter are competing for two starting spots in camp. Now that is some amazing competition and the best part is we get to say goodbye to Ernie Sims. (Alternate Pick: Aaron Donald)


2nd Round Analysis: With two picks here the Cowboys should focus on players that have dynamic skills but maybe play a little inconsistently.


2nd - Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State - Flat out Cooks is a better wide receiver than Tavon Austin and compares favorably to Percy Harvin. The offense desperately needs some speed elements and Dunbar + Cooks + Linehan could turn out to provide the mismatches that will turn Bryant and Williams into a nightmare on the outside. (Alternate Pick: Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSU)


2nd (from San Francisco) - Will Sutton DT Arizona State: Another highly productive player, Sutton has gotten a bad rap for some recent weight gain. He would be an instant starter at the 1 technique and should get his weight down to the 300 pound range to play that position. (Alternate Pick: DaQuan Jones DT Penn State)


3rd Round Analysis: Looking for value in this round and a chance to add to the areas of the team sorely in need of depth.


3rd - Cyril Richardson G Baylor - Once thought of as a first rounder he is now predicted to fall to the third round. Richardson would be a steal at this point and could compete with Leary for the road grader role on the offensive line. If he can get in a little better shape he has all the physical tools to succeed. (Alternate Pick: Dakota Dozier OG Furman)


4th - Christian Kirksey LB Iowa - If all I knew about this guy was that Kirk Ferentz says he is one of his favorite players ever, then that would probably be enough for me, but add to that his ridiculous production level playing alongside team mate James Morris and I think the Cowboys would have a potential steal. This is just a case of taking best player available even though after Shazier another linebacker might not be a pressing need. (Alternate Pick: Chris Borland LB Wisconsin)


5th - Marcus Martin OG/C USC - Filling out the rest of the offensive line needs Martin has played both G positions and C in his career at USC. He projects as a better prospect than Khaled Holmes and has drawn early interest from the Cowboys. With Costa cut, a backup center/guard type is needed even after drafting Richardson. I like this guy alot and feel he may be underrated at this point and could wind up in the 3rd round before all is said and done.


7th - Trey Millard FB Oklahoma - Without the knee injury he probably goes as high as the third round. Should be ready for training camp. He projects as an outstanding blocker at the next level and could even be a third down back with great athleticism and pass catching skills.


7th - Danny Kistler OT Montana - Possesses good size at 6-7 318 and a very productive 4 year starter for the grizzlies. Expected to push Weems for a roster spot and at worst compete for a practice squad position.


7th - (expected compensatory) - Phillip Gaines CB Rice - Possesses good size and speed. Probably is a little underrated at the moment, but would make an excellent pick late in the draft.


7th - (expected compensatory) - Antonio Andrews RB Western Kentucky - Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. Showed good pass blocking skills in the Senior Bowl. At worst he might push Tanner off the roster - which is a good thing.



Roster Break Down Post Draft:


QB

Romo

Orton




RB

Murray

Randle

Dunbar

Andrews


FB

Millard





WR

Bryant

Williams

Cooks

Harris

Beasley

TE

Witten

Escobar

Hanna



T

Smith

Free

Weems

Parnell


G

Richardson

Bernadeau

Leary



C

Frederick

Martin





3-DT

Houston

Rayford




1-DT

Sutton

Kearse




SDE

Crawford

Bass




WDE

Ware

Selvie

Brown



SLB

Carter

Wilber

Lawrence



MLB

Lee

Holloman




WLB

Shazier

Kirksey




FS

Johnson

Heath

Hamilton



SS

Church

Wilcox




CB

Carr

Scandrick

Claiborne

Webb

Gaines

SPEC

Bailey

Jones

Ladoceur




Remarks:


  • I know it doesn’t look like I addressed the defensive line, particularly DE, but I think the scheme Kiffin and Marinelli want to run makes the SDE, 3DT, and 1DT interchangeable 60% of the time. So in reality Houston, Crawford, Bass, and Sutton would be three of the four players in on 60% of the snaps and are interchangeable pieces. This would allow a highly effective twist and stunt game and be a nightmare for opponents. Even Rayford is interchangeable among those spots and should be a more impactful player this next year.

  • With the 3DT, 1DT, and SDE spots fairly interchangeable in the scheme. You could move Selvie to his more natural WDE position and rotate him and Ware letting them just focus on going after the passer. Some interesting stunts are possible with Shazier and the WDE.

  • The LB core is now deep and strong. Given the injury history of Lee this is an unfortunate necessity. LBs make excellent special teamers though so our coverage units should remain strong. Shazier is a flat out play maker who will excel as the WLB. Defensive ROY potential.

  • The WR core has a great mix of possession, playmaking, speed, and route running. The deepest that group has been since Romo took over as QB.

  • The offensive line is now the strength of the team and the team is well positioned to draft an OT high next year to replace Free rather than having to keep him with too many other holes to fill.

  • Prediction: Hayden gets pushed off the roster in training camp by Kearse. Will McClay pushed very hard to still Frank Kearse from the Titans practice squad at the end of last season. In his limited action he looked like he has some nice upside.

  • The only glaring hole is at FS, but you need to give Wilcox, Johnson, and Heath one more year to sink or swim so you know what you truly have. More effective play up front would lead to a better evaluation on those players and with Dallas having spent 11 draft picks on defensive backs since 2009, it is hard to justify taking another FS/SS high in this draft. I do love Pryor’s upside though and would be happy with him at 16.



Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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