Why is it so hard to agree unanimously on a path for the Cowboys with the fourth-overall pick? Well, maybe because the Cowboys haven't picked this high in some time without giving up some collateral to do so. Maybe it's because the fourth-overall pick is not a guaranteed success story. Though it is hard to bust that high, it has happened before, see Darren McFadden, Peter Warrick, and Aaron Curry to name a few. Sure, the Cowboys are making good on McFadden right now, but you can't ignore his history.
Truth be told, the Cowboys haven't done all that bad picking in the top five, they've done it nine times since their inception. Three of them are in the Hall Of Fame - Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, and Randy White. Though not in the hall, John Niland, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Craig Morton, Russell Maryland and Terence Newman were no slouches by any means. Newman is even still playing at the ripe age of 38 once the season kicks off. Not a bad collection of players, am I right? So, what's the path to the Cowboys replicating some success this season? It's best to narrow it down...
Defense Offers Depth But Few Bona Fide Playmakers
It's quite possible that this draft is going to be known most for the depth that teams were able to come away with. However, if you look closely, you won't see too many truly outstanding players. There are some, no doubt, but they are few and far in between. Where this class is especially lacking is at edge rusher and that's really unfortunate. The top guys are Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Shaq Lawson, and Noah Spence. Out of the bunch, you might get a really good player, but none looks to be an elite pass rusher in the making. Take Joey Bosa, for instance, as he is the likeliest candidate to be chosen.
He's probably the one candidate that scares me the most because, at four, you better get a guy that is a perennial Pr Bowler. I'm talking double-digit sacks for years to come and that's not what you get the impression of here. Yes, he was a great player at Ohio State, but he lacks the quick-twitch explosion that is needed in Marinelli's 4-3 alignment. You want to know exactly what you are getting in a play-maker at four and Bosa just doesn't give me that.
Quarterback Class Is Not Ready To Start
All three of the top quarterbacks could become franchise-worthy down the road, but do any seem to be that right now? That's the question on everyone's minds because jobs are kept and lost on that very notion. The consensus is that this draft does not have any Andrew Lucks. It's not 2004, where Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger were all ready young-guns. If that is to be true then the Cowboys have been telling us all along that's not the direction they will go.
They seem very confident that Tony Romo is their guy going forward. That is not to say that they won't draft a quarterback but at four is unlikely. Once again, we're looking at a class that has some good options but not great ones. Sure, the Cowboys don't need their heir-apparent to start right away because they have Tony. Yet, it's hard to fathom them using a high pick on a non-starter when they are trying to make the most of Romo's 'window'. They may like some of these quarterbacks, but it makes more sense to look at a quarterback in a later round from what we've been hearing.
The Verdict: If taking all the above as fact. It's really pretty simple to narrow down the choices and in my mind there are only three suitable candidates:
CB/S Jalen Ramsey: If the Cowboys get a sniff at Ramsey, he has to be the guy. His ability to read quarterbacks and maintain position put him at the top of this list. Ramsey is viewed by many as a safety but nobody doubts his ability to translate to cornerback. He's got speed, awareness, and is built in all the right ways. He's intelligent and makes plays all over the field. Ramsey would instantly make this secondary a lot more formidable. He doesn't lose sight of his man and is well versed no matter if in press or zone. Ramsey is one of the few play-makers in this draft and would add so much versatility to the Cowboys' defense.
LB Myles Jack: He got a good medical checkup at the Combine and he's looking to be ready to go for any team willing to pick him. When you talk about versatile players, this is a cat that could give the Cowboys a lot in terms of being suited for any linebacking spot. When a Rod Marinelli defense is at its best is when the linebackers are making plays. For what Jack may lack in ideal size, he makes up for with tremendous effort to get off his blocks and bring down the ball-carrier. He's also a well-rounded coverage player that can run with receivers and tight ends. His ability to diagnose the play and read the quarterback's eyes make him the proper selection at four. He's a dynamic athlete with skills that are off the charts.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: I don't concern myself with the notion that running backs aren't valued. If 2014 was any indication, this offense is at its best when they are dominating on the ground. They have made a good player out of McFadden, but Elliott is a dynamic player. Think about what this offensive line could do with a special player like Elliott running behind them. Not a lot of backs come out as well-polished as Zeke. There just aren't really any holes in his game and he could very well be the safest pick. The Cowboys showed with Zack Martin that safe bets aren't bad bets. Elliott is the guy if the other two happen to be gone and he would be an electric addition to the offense.