Sitting pretty with the fourth overall pick as well as what is probably the most talented non-playoff roster, it's not too surprising to see that a quarterback could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, there isn't a franchise-quarterback type of guy like a Jameis Winston or an Andrew Luck available, but if the Cowboys worry about the post-Tony Romo era, getting a player like Jared Goff or Carson Wentz may just be worth it.
However, with so many needs on both sides of the football, pre-draft rumors have linked Dallas to a bundle of players. Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Joey Bosa, Laquon Treadwell, and Ezekiel Elliott are just a few players that have been mocked to Dallas in the past few weeks. Quarterback is a need for sure, but a helathy 2016 Cowboys could make a Super Bowl run next season. And to help that run, Dallas would benefit much more from using their first-round pick on a player that can immediately help the team, and not on one that won't play for a few years, barring any injury.
Admittedly, I was all aboard the Jared Goff hype train just a few weeks ago. However, the defensive side of the football has far too many questions for the Cowboys to ignore it in the first round. Super Bowl winners over the past couple of years have thrived off creating pressure on the quarterback and generating takeaways. It's no secret that Dallas needs to get to the quarterback more. The Cowboys have invested heavily in Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, the team's two second-round picks over the past two years. If Dallas doesn't re-sign Greg Hardy, which at this point looks like it won't be happen, the Cowboys will need to get huge production from the defensive line combination.
But it's more than just the defensive line. The Cowboys need more ball-hawking guys in the back-end of the secondary. At this point, linebacker is a need, but depending on the deal, Rolando McClain should be back with the Cowboys in 2016 and beyond. Sure, the Cowboys could draft a guy like Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith to fully upgrade their linebacker corps, but with young guys like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson still on the team, drafting a linebacker would mean that Dallas pretty much gave up on the development of both Hitchens and Wilson.
Depending on what happens with Brandon Carr's contract and Morris Claiborne's future, the Cowboys will have a ton of questions in the secondary. If Byron Jones makes the transition to full-time free safety, it will be interesting to see what happens with J.J. Wilcox and if Terrance Mitchell or Deji Olatoye can take on a bigger role on the outside.
In recent memory, the Cowboys have failed at drafting cornerbacks successfully. Claiborne came on in 2015, but we can't forget about the likes of B.W. Webb, Josh Thomas, Jamar Wall, DeAngelo Smith, and Mike Mickens. Byron Jones was a step in the right direction, but the Cowboys will need to draft a cornerback in the top part of the draft for the second consecutive season, and that player has to have the same immediate impact Jones had.
At this point in the offseason, it's truly impossible to predict what the Cowboys will do. They could even draft a stud receiver to beef up Romo's options. Depending what happens in free agency and what happens in the next few weeks regarding who the Cowboys re-sign, we'll get a better idea of who the Cowboys will target atop Round One. But for now, quarterback looks like a need the Cowboys can hold off of at least for another season. Some names in the 2017 NFL Draft that you should start to know of are Nathan Peterman, Chad Kelly, and Brad Kaaya.