Depending on what you believe or not, there are rumors circulating that the Cowboys are done with Greg Hardy. They also will be without Randy Gregory for a quarter of the season, as he will be serving a four-game suspension. Role players like Jeremy Mincey and Jack Crawford are set to hit free agency. This is a team that has struggled in the pass rush department since 2011, that was the last time they ranked in the top 10 at bringing down the quarterback. They haven't had a double-digit sack artist since 2013 and in each of the last two seasons have been among the worst in the league at 28th and 25th respectively.
In essence, it's safe to say that this team needs a whole lot help at pass rusher if they hope to become a formidable defense. With all the above considered, it has many draftniks pinning the Cowboys as the landing spot for a Joey Bosa. However, those that are pretty high on him need to understand that a rookie pass rusher usually doesn't produce much. Dane Brugler, of CBS, has stated that he doesn't know if Bosa would ever be a double-digit sack guy. Well, then why in the heck would you ever use the 4th overall pick on that? I wouldn't. Bryan Broaddus has even said that if they took Bosa, they would get a good player, not a great one. Does that sound like the player that you want with the fourth pick?
Since sacks became an official stat in 1982, only 28 rookies have ever got 10 or more sacks. No rookies have been able to do so since Von Miller and Aldon Smith since 2011. This is not to say that the Cowboys shouldn't take pass rushers in this draft, just don't take one at four. This is a team with plenty of holes to fill and they can find an impact player at four at another position. Taking a pass rusher at four maybe similar to taking a quarterback at four. It may pay off later, but it's not likely to help them now.
I've been on record saying that the Cowboys must be players in free agency this offseason. Last year would show you the blueprint. They had a big deficiency at pass rusher, so they went after Greg Hardy to add a premier pass rusher to their starting lineup. That didn't keep them from drafting Gregory in the second round, but it made them feel a lot better about their situation. They're going to have to use that same idea this offseason but just may have to be willing to spend more money.
The Super Bowl showed the world that it's all about affecting the quarterback. It's always been about affecting the quarterback and if you can do it, you'll have success. If you can't, you may win a lot of games, but when it matters on the biggest stage, you won't.
For the Dallas Cowboys to make the most of their final years in the Tony Romo era, they must surround him with a formidable defense that can get to the quarterback and get turnovers. In 2015, we know that they took a massive step backward, but it can be rectified. It's going to take an aggressive approach in free agency but it's equally important to be focused in the draft.
As previously mentioned, the Cowboys needs a true playmaker at four. Whether they take a cornerback, linebacker or even running back. They just need to make sure that player is playing a lead role in their plans for 2016. They just can't take a pass rusher because they need one. History shows that's not the way to go. That is the only reason that I'm such a proponent for proven pass rushers. Most rookies just don't have an arsenal of pass rushing moves, they don't understand the nuances and speed of the game yet. Veteran offensive linemen love rookie pass rushers because they're not finished products.
Often times, they need more bulk or fall into their tendencies to hand fight and just don't play with a lot of technique. Don't get me wrong the Cowboys need to consider all pass rushers in this draft. However, it would make more sense to take one later. In fact, what if Noah Spence were to be available at 34? There are many conflicting reports out there about who the true best pass rusher is in this draft. Spence dominated for the Buckeyes but had some drug issues that got him dismissed. Spence went on to dominate at Eastern Kentucky and then had an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl. His stock is certainly rising but there are other such as Ronald Blair, Jonathan Bullard, Carl Nassib and others to consider in the second round.
Of course, the Cowboys need plenty of help at pass rusher, but that shouldn't force them into a decision they may not be comfortable with. If they can go out and negotiate to bring in some proven help at pass rusher, they'll be in good shape. Then they can use the draft to build around Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory for the future. They can take advantage of a deep defensive tackle class and get some push up the middle. This is just not a class at pass rusher that excites that much and the guy that goes first may not be too much better than a guy that goes in the second round. The Cowboys need to look high and low for as much pass rushing help as they can get, but they also need help everywhere else. When you are 4-12, there isn't much about your team that is solidified. However, there are no J.J. Watt's or DeMarcus Ware's in this draft which leads me to believe that there is no pass rusher worthy of such a high pick at number four.