Two weeks. We are but two weeks away from the biggest event for all NFL-nerds alike. The excitement is building as preparations are are ongoing in Chicago. With that in mind, I also have no idea of what our beloved Cowboys will look to do this year. There are so many directions the Cowboys could go which leads me to the five thoughts on my mind related to the Cowboys' draft.
1. When Should The Cowboys Pull The Trigger On A Runner?
This is the big question since the departure of DeMarco Murray. First off, I'm in agreement with Mickey Spagnola when he said they didn't lose Murray. They, being the Cowboys' brass, decided Murray wasn't an $8.6 million dollar player. Now I wonder just what type of running-back are they looking for? The Cowboys certainly believe that they need a premier rushing attack which usually requires a premier running-back. So if that's the case, here are their options accordingly:
A.) Todd Gurley- Best back in the class, explosive runner with comparisons to Marshawn Lynch. He's dynamic though there are concerns about his knee, injury timetable points to August, which coincides with training camp and preseason.
B.) Melvin Gordon- Touted as the second-rated back and has a history of good production. A well-rounded talent but unproven as a pass-catcher or blocker.
C.) Trade for Adrian Peterson- Proven NFL commodity and once-in-a-lifetime type of talent. However, he's aging and there is no telling what the price is going to be. If Minnesota wants the 27th pick straight-up, I would consider it. Yet, I would rather not spend multiple picks and believe this team is not one player away from anything.
D.) Trade back and acquire Jay Ajayi- Another well-rounded talent that has been high on the Cowboys' radar. He's a DFW-native who modeled his game after Emmitt Smith. He's a workhorse back that has been efficient in taking on blitzes.
E.) Wait and grab a mid-round talent such as David Johnson or Jeremy Langford- This is an interesting idea especially seeing as the Cowboys have a multitude of needs in other areas. This would allow for them to help their defense but would certainly signify the running-by-committee approach, which I'm not so sure about.
All things considered, I would like a workhorse back. The fact that Gurley and Gordon could be gone by 27 leaves me thinking that option D works best. Dallas needs a guy to run the show and Peterson is a nice thought, however his price-tag may be too high. I like Jeremy Langford and actually mocked him to Dallas recently but I'm still uncertain that he can set himself apart from the other guys on the roster.
2. How Interesting Is Frank Clark?
The answer is very interesting. Dane Brugler currently has him as a third- to fourth-round talent. I wonder where he would be ranked if not for a November domestic dispute arrest? Clark is a long-limbed player and savvy pass rusher. In fact, Clark was in the midst of a really nice breakout-type campaign at Michigan with 47 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss. Brugler has even gone as far to say Clark could be the "steal" of the NFL Draft if he can convince clubs that his troubles are behind him. Don't forget, Clark was also arrested on an home invasion charge while in school at Michigan. It should be known that Clark is currently enrolled in counseling classes and has handled all of these issues very well when asked. His skill-set is fitting of some Marinelli Magic, but the backlash that could ensue for the Cowboys is worth trepidation.
3. Should the Cowboys draft a quarterback?
This year's class has so many question-marks, and those questions include the top two candidates. Dallas doesn't necessarily need a quarterback but they will soon enough. We've heard that there is some interest in Baylor product Bryce Petty, but as Nick Eatman asked, is he better than Dustin Vaughan? Petty certainly has some intangibles as does Sean Mannion and Hutson Mason, two other quarterbacks that the Cowboys have shown interest in. While I agree that it is a nice notion to have a developmental guy on the roster, why can't that be Dustin Vaughan? When that sad day finally comes and Tony Romo retires, put me in the camp of a guy willing to spend a high pick on the position. Though who's to say really?
4. Would the Cowboys be willing to take secondary players back-to-back?
This is something I've been pondering as of late and find it to be one of the most intriguing ideas. There's a shared adage that this year's draft will be it's deepest at running-back and corners. The safety class is not as strong with one true first-round talent, and then about three or five other worthy candidates. The Cowboys love Demarious Randall and believe he's the best free safety in the class. What's to stop the Cowboys from taking a cornerback such as Kevin Johnson or Byron Jones in the first and turning right around and grabbing Randall at 60? Talk about trying to solidify a secondary full of questions with two hopeful contributors. It's a bold move, but a move that should be considered. I guess it all depends on how that board shakes out.
5. Owa Odighizuwa or Eli Harold?
I have long been a fan of the Cowboys taking another pass rusher at 27, but the likelihood of getting a good one is probably slimmer than it would appear. Even with the signing of Greg Hardy, the Cowboys should follow the same path as they did with their offensive line and apply it to the defensive line. At first, I dismissed Eli Harold because I believed he was a 3-4 OLB. Now I'm coming around and on-board the Harold-Train, I think he's a bit more versatile than first-glance would dictate. He's a little lean but he's quick and has a motor that never quits. I really like his attitude and the way he carries himself on and off the field. I'm starting to think that Harold could be a solid antidote to the rushing woes of 2014. Odiggy is also a good candidate but his hip injuries are concerning and he doesn't have nearly the pass rushing arsenal that Harold has already developed. Bryan Broaddus seems to believe that Harold is best with his hand in the ground, and other scouts tend to agree. He's got all the tools to become an excellent edge-rusher, something the Cowboys could sorely use.
What's on your minds as we get geared up for the draft?