The NFL has the most parity of any professional sports league in America, which is precisely why it remains as the highest-rated professional sport as well. This league is just not designed for dynasty teams anymore, that's what makes the Patriots of our era even more interesting. Say what you will about the "Tuck Rule", "Spy-gate", and now "Deflate-gate" theories; the fact remains that they are the measuring stick of the NFL for over a decade now.
How else do you explain a sixth-round pick, of whom the Michigan Wolverine coaches did nothing but try and replace, become the closest comparison to the likes of Joe Montana? As painful as it is to say, they are doing something right up there in Foxboro, which leads me to our beloved Dallas Cowboys. You would be hard-pressed to find a team in the National Football League that has drafted better than New England; but the Dallas Cowboys have greatly improved recently.
The many doubters scorn, laugh, and say whatever it may be to compare these Cowboys to the same regime of old. Too bad those inference memes are toast. The Cowboys went 12-4 in a year where most pegged them as cellar-dwellers. Where their often-hobbled quarterback put up one of the best seasons ever.
The Cowboys have slowly but surely come to the conclusion that the draft is the best way to build a roster in this league. By hiring the right guys to spend countless hours on the road and determine who really fit their picture of their roster, they've become one of the better drafting teams in football.
They no longer focus of the splash their selection makes, but the impact the player can have for their team. Though it's a nice notion to stick to the BPA approach, it's not exactly followed by the consensus. It's too hard to do so, especially when you have needs and free agency to worry about. For real, most NFL teams follow the path of "best player available based on their priority positions." Last year, many pundits talked about the list of guys this team had pegged, and the fact that most were gone which led to the Zack Martin pick. However, Martin's selection helped transform the entire offense. It's silly to say that he was just a best player pick, he filled a much bigger role than that.
The Cowboys have followed this approach for a few years now, whether they've traded up, down to make their pick. This team takes impact players no matter what round they have to find them in. It doesn't always work out in round one as is the case with Morris Claiborne, but with four of the five last picks being Pro Bowlers, something is working. With finding players late and cheap like Anthony Hitchens and Ronald Leary, it seems they know what they are doing.
This year's draft poses it's own set of predicaments. When picking at 27, you're likely picking a second-round player. So Dallas will let it play out in front of them with major questions at corner, running back, and pass rusher. As Tom Ryle said; it's a total crap shoot. This will be the most difficult draft for the Cowboys, because they are a good football team. The line between 12-4 and 4-12 is not too far away, they must find guys that are able to contribute.
We can't wait for players to develop, and neither can the veterans on this team who salivate for something special. If the running game was so instrumental last year, then they better find someone who can provide similar production. Nobody is saying that 1,845 is the number, but impact remains the key.
For a team who couldn't produce sacks against a one-legged quarterback and is likely without their best pass rusher for part of the season, something has got to give. If that's the route, Dallas must find a pass rusher that can get home. Whether it be an end or tackle, somebody has to step up and force pressure.
With all the controversy surrounding this secondary, a cornerback makes the most sense early. However, if that corner is selected, can he step in and play significant time or possibly start? These are the questions the Cowboys must answer in the coming days. Whether it be those positions or something totally different, all this team really needs are players that are hungry and capable of making an impact.