The NFL Draft is the key to building a successful franchise in today's NFL. Unlike the MLB, NFL teams can't just shell out millions of dollars and bring in a super team. Chemistry is just such a huge part of football and without it, the chances of a team succeeding are really slim. Just a few seasons ago, the Philadelphia Eagles put together quite the roster thanks to free agency. However, that team fell on its face. While free agency isn't the answer to all problems, it is a valuable tool of the offseason that teams can use in their favor.
The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in an interesting position as the offseason is starting to get rolling. When you take a look at the teams picking in the top ten, it's really common knowledge that the Cowboys have far more talent than anyone else. A team with Super Bowl aspirations is picking in the top 5. This could be quite the season if the Cowboys play their cards right, and it all starts with this offseason. With the fourth-overall pick, Dallas could go a few directions with the pick. But these five potential signings in free agency could change their draft philosophy.
Robert Griffin III
The idea of Robert Griffin III to the Cowboys is one that has been talked about for months on end. Jerry Jones has already made it clear of how much he likes Griffin III. If and when the Washington Redskins do cut him, the Cowboys will most certainly be in the market. By signing Griffin III, the likelihood of the Cowboys drafting either Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, or Paxton Lynch goes down tremendously.
Dallas was supposed to have a much improved pass rushing group with the additions of Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory. But both failed to live up to expectations and because of that, there's a high probability that Hardy isn't even on the roster come September. The Cowboys will need someone opposite of Demarcus Lawrence when the regular season starts because of Gregory's suspension.
But even when he comes back, the Cowboys would benefit most by having a veteran presence that can make an impact on both the progressions of Lawrence and Gregory. Mario Williams would fit that bill. Williams recently turned 31, but he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. It will also help that he'll be on a team that can go far in the playoffs, something that hasn't been the case over the course of his career. I doubt the Cowboys draft Joey Bosa if they sign Williams in free agency.
The Cowboys could find themselves in a situation similar to the one in 2012, where they had to make a ton of pricey moves to bolster their secondary. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have been unimpressive to say the least since then. Because of that, there's a chance both aren't even on the roster when the regular season starts. While Jalen Ramsey looks to be the ideal pick as of now, Sean Smith is a guy that could come in and immediately help this secondary alongside Byron Jones and Orlando Scandrick. The addition of Smith would, but not entirely, hurt the chances of the Cowboys getting Ramsey if the Florida State product fell to them at four.
One market in free agency that has a ton of talent is the linebacker market. Similar to the Rams, the Denver Broncos will have an interesting situation on their hands this offseason. Danny Trevathan, Brandon Marshall, and Malik Johnson are all impending free agents and it's going to be quite difficult to retain all of them. Picking up a guy like Trevathan would be huge for the Cowboys. He's the type of player that can do a variety of things for a defense and play a pass-coverage role similar to the one Jamie Collins plays for the New England Patriots. The signing of Trevathan wouldn't fully eliminate the possibility of Myles Jack, but it would greatly diminish it.
There are some people out there that believe the Cowboys will shock the world come draft night and select Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth-overall pick. In terms of win-now mode, drafting Elliott would immediately help this offense and, of course, the team in the process. Elliott would be a dynamic player to add to an offense. However, running back isn't the most pressing need by any means. In free agency, Lamar Miller is by far and away the most talented back. Imagine such a quick and shifty running back behind the Cowboys' offensive line, a running back who's still only 24 years old. That has to give the Cowboys some ideas. Signing Miller would, and should, mean no Elliott.