2014 NFL Draft: Picking Through The Veteran Leftovers Could Fill Cowboys' Bellies

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Just because we've been focused on the draft, doesn't mean that the team hasn't kept their eyes on the guys with experience.

The NFL calendar follows the same cycle each year. Once the season ends, teams try to fill as many holes as possible through free agency. If a team is smart, and depending on their salary cap budget, they'll buy young in the first stages of free agency.

The NFL career is relatively short, most players aren't going to be at the peak of their career by the end of their second contract, much less their third. So smart teams will not pay big money to players that will be too far on the other side of 30 when the contract ends.

After all, picking big money free agents from other teams might be a bigger crap shoot than the draft is.

But after that initial wave, you generally see the action slow to a crawl as the draft nears. There comes a balance point where teams would rather try to fill their remaining holes via young, unproven talent. That talent comes with maximum length futures that they can purchased at wholesale costs, as opposed to retail costs of veteran free agency; even if at a discount.

And now that the draft is over, and teams have a clear picture of what they are taking to training camp, free agency begins again. Now all of those 30 and over vets that have been sitting around resting their weary bones are going to be getting calls. Here's a list of who is waiting by the phone. Rankings via Rotoworld.com

Quarterbacks

There isn't much reason for Dallas to examine this list; they still have Kyle Orton on the roster for now, and have two camp arms (or more) in Brandon Weeden and Caleb Hanie. Mix in the rookie UDFAs and not much need here. Looking at the names available, that's cause for a sigh of relief.

  1. Kevin Kolb
  2. David Garrard
  3. Rex Grossman

Running Backs

The Cowboys didn't draft a running back to replace Phillip Tanner, but did sign a couple after the draft. Could they look to carry four, and if so would it be a vet?

  1. Michael Bush
  2. Bernard Scott
  3. Felix Jones
  4. Ronnie Brown
  5. Willis McGahee
  6. Phillip Tanner
  7. Kevin Smith

Wide Receivers

Dallas drafted a wideout which would leave them set, and the depth of the draft dropped two guys with draftable grades to fall to them in UDFA in L'Damian Washington and Chris Boyd. Still though, it's a passing league...

  1. Santonio Holmes
  2. Miles Austin
  3. Danario Alexander
  4. Robert Meachem
  5. Earl Bennett
  6. Austin Collie
  7. Josh Morgan
  8. Dezmon Briscoe
  9. Davone Bess
  10. Josh Cribbs

Tight Ends

Dallas didn't secure a pure blocking tight end and time may be running out on the James Hanna experiment.

  1. Jermichael Finley
  2. Dustin Keller
  3. Fred Davis
  4. Tony Scheffler
  5. Kellen Wislow
  6. Ben Hartstock
  7. Dallas Clark
  8. Bear Pascoe
  9. Alex Smith
  10. Chase Coffman
  11. Jeron Mastrud

Offensive Line

You can never have enough depth, and veteran depth on the offensive line is key. The backups on the outside are all unproven; this might be an area to sign a cheap veteran.

Tackles

  1. David Stewart
  2. Bryant McKinnie
  3. Ryan Harris
  4. Eric Winston
  5. Will Svitek
  6. J'Marcus Webb
  7. Tyson Clabo
  8. Mike Otto
  9. Sean Locklear
  10. Tony Pashos
  11. Jeremy Trueblood
  12. Dennis Roland
  13. Levi Brown

Guards

  1. Travelle Wharton
  2. Brian Waters
  3. Uche Nwaneri
  4. Davin Joseph
  5. Richie Incognito
  6. Daryn Colledge
  7. Wade Smith
  8. Harvey Dahl
  9. Mike Brisiel
  10. Garrett Reynolds
  11. Leroy Harris

Centers

  1. Jonathan Goodwin
  2. Fernando Velasco
  3. David Baas
  4. Kyle Cook
  5. Ryan Cook
  6. Samson Satele

Defensive End

If you are unsure about Anthony Spencer's return, Dallas has Demarcus Lawrence, George Selvie, Tyrone Crawford, Jermey Mincey and a 7th rounder. Yes, they could go here.. if there was anyone left.

  1. Brett Keisel
  2. Adam Carriker
  3. Jason Hunter
  4. Andre Carter

Defensive Tackle

Again, the depth here is questionable, as Dallas didn't hit the defensive tackle position until late in the draft. Henry Melton is our three-tech but there is plenty of room for the backups and the 1-techs to have competition.

  1. Kevin Williams
  2. Ryan Pickett
  3. Johnny Jolly
  4. Aubrayo Franklin
  5. Isaac Sopoaga
  6. Gary Gibson
  7. Kyle Love

Linebacker

Anthony Hitchens solved our problem! Just kidding. Room to add to the mix, for sure.

Outside Linebackers

  1. O'Brien Schofield
  2. James Harrison
  3. Erin Henderson
  4. Stephen Nicholas
  5. Michael Boley
  6. James Anderson
  7. Ernie Sims
  8. Marvin Mitchell
  9. Will Herring

Inside Linebackers

  1. Pat Angerer
  2. Stewart Bradley
  3. Desmond Bishop
  4. Jonathan Vilma
  5. Paris Lenon
  6. Nick Barnett
  7. Bryan Kehl
  8. Dan Connor
  9. Will Witherspoon
  10. Larry Foote
  11. Jacob Cutrera
  12. Austin Spitler

Cornerback

While we should all be excited by seventh-round steal Terrance Mitchell, you can never have enough quality corners. if you think you can find one, grab him.

  1. Terrell Thomas
  2. Asante Samuel
  3. Jabari Greer
  4. Drayton Florence
  5. Quentin Jammer
  6. Corey Webster
  7. Dunta Robinson

Safety

The team would probably be looking to sign someone like who Barry Church is now. They've released veterans in lieu of getting young guys playing time... This is all to say I'd be shocked if they went here, but you never know.

  1. Steve Gregory
  2. Nick Collins
  3. Mike Adams
  4. Chris Crocker
  5. Yeremiah Bell
  6. Quintin Mikell
  7. Kerry Rhodes
  8. Michael Huff
  9. Ed Reed
  10. Jim Leonhard

So what do you think, BTB? Does anyone catch your eye?

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