One of the challenges of keeping up with the draft these days is that there are so many sources of information, it's hard to keep track of what's going on.
And some of the most interesting nuggets of information reach us via sources that are a little outside of the established media mainstream: our friend JimmyK from BloggingTheBEast alerted us (exclusively) to three prospects the Cowboys had talked to at the Senior Bowl and we found out via a video posted on YouTube by dcfanatic that Jerry Jones thinks the "defensive front is one of the strengths of our team".
And today we add another source: Alex Dunlap writes a weekly column for the Austin Chronicle and also attended the Senior Bowl practices, from where he filed a lengthy report, with this little nugget buried somewhere in the middle:
We spoke with Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan about their needs in the 2012 draft, and his sentiment was very clear. "I’m only looking at DBs. Nothing else. DBs." It is evident that the Cowboys’ defensive backfield has become a major liability. We will not be seeing a repeat of the 2011 season in 2012, when 10 of 11 defensive starters returned for the Cowboys.
It's not exactly a secret that the Cowboys need help in the secondary. Many draftniks are on record saying the Cowboys could draft up to three defensive backs in a move that would echo last year's draft in which the Cowboys picked three offensive linemen.
But for the Cowboys to be this open about their strategy is a little unusual. Jerry Jones appears to be ruling out a significant upgrade for the defensive front, Rob Ryan is looking for secondary help. At least they both appear to be thinking in the same direction.
Unless it's all subterfuge, of course.
The Cowboys could just as easily be planning to upgrade their pass rush, and are trying to throw other teams off their scent. Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News yesterday provided the key arguments for why the Cowboys should go for pass rushers:
Q: In today's NFL, is it more important to have a premier pass rusher or a 'shutdown' corner?
Gosselin: Pass rusher. The 1985 Chicago Bears and 1986 New York Giants won Super Bowls and most football observers can't even name their starting corners. But you can name the Hall of Fame linebackers and pass rushers. They won with their front sevens. If you can build a ferocious pass rusher, you can get by with average corners. If you don't have a rush, you need great cornerback play. The Giants are in the Super Bowl this week. They finished third in the NFL in sacks but 29th in pass defense. If you don't have pass rushers, find them. If you can't find them, find corners.
Q: Is it better for the Cowboys to draft a CB or find one in free agency?
Gosselin: I wouldn't be adverse to drafting two corners and signing another in free agency. In an era where three and four wide receiver sets are commonplace, you can never have enough coverage players.
In times likes these it's best to make like Fox Mulder: "Trust No One."
Where do you stand, a premier pass rusher or a premier corner?