It's 3:20 in the afternoon and the Cowboys are probably already declaring this draft a success. It was an improbable gamble, but they managed to get the two front seven players they targeted -- Troy OLB Demarcus Ware and LSU DE Marcus Spears.
This raises some questions about their personnel and alignment next year, but not too much.
Let's take an early look at the projected front seven:
LE -- Marcus Spears
NT -- Jason Ferguson/LaRoi Glover
RE -- Greg Ellis/LaRoi Glover
LOLB -- Kalen Thornton
LILB -- Dat Nguyen
RILB -- Brady James
ROLB -- Demarcus Ware
To play this alignment, Dallas needed a big nose tackle. They signed one in Ferguson. They needed at least one big 295-315 lb. end. They got one in Spears. The swing player on the line is Glover. Parcells has remarked that he thought Glover, with his strength, could play some downs inside. That strength should also let him play some outside. At the Pro Bowl, Glover got some reps at 4-3 end. While that game is little more than a glorified exhibition, he showed speed to turn the corner.
The key to the linebacking corps was finding a speed rusher to move up and down the line. Somebody to play the role Lawrence Taylor, Andre Tippett, Derrick Thomas and Cornelius Bennett played in the '80s and '90s in 3-4 alignments. That's the role for Ware. By putting him in this scheme his learning curve is hastened, since Ware can play in a two point stance. This scheme will protect him, since he won't have to head up against offensive tackles and can put his 4.61 speed to immediate use.
I'm sure Bill Parcells wishes Greg Ellis and LaRoi Glover were each about 15 pounds heavier, but given their work ethics, this is the least of his worries today.
The Cowboys went into the draft with a risky plan, and for once, it didn't detonate in their faces.