One of the hardest things about covering the Cowboys is how impossible they are to predict. Following this team provides more questions than answers at times. The Cowboys have been pretty decent at drafting lately, but there have been times where they've made picks that have left the fanbase scratching their heads, or haven't made picks that also leaves fans bewildered.
Take a look at last year's draft. The Cowboys had only Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden, and Lance Dunbar at running back. Keep in mind this was a team coming off its best year in what seemed like forever using a punishing rushing attack. With that unbelievable offensive line, there were so many temptations to select a running back at some point in the draft. Heck, even Todd Archer said that the team would target one within the first four rounds of the draft. But nevertheless, 256 picks went by and the Cowboys had no running back to show for it.
It's simply incredible that Darren McFadden performed the way he did in 2015 without a quarterback of the caliber of Tony Romo in front of him. Regardless of McFadden's productivity, the Cowboys still signed another running back in Alfred Morris. And even despite the addition, there are still reports of the Cowboys using a top-five draft pick on running back Ezekiel Elliott!
So where am I going with this ramble? Well, I'm going to look at three positions the Cowboys may decide to look past in the early rounds of the 2016 NFL draft.
One year later and the Cowboys find themselves asking the same question, "should we target the best running back in the draft?" Last year it was Todd Gurley, this year it could very well be Elliott. But could the Cowboys' interest in a running back be just a smokescreen. The Cowboys will likely grab a running back at some point in the draft, but I have my doubts that it would be with the team's first-round pick.
The only running back on the roster that is signed past 2016 is Morris and he's only signed to a two-year deal, so drafting a running back would make sense. But because the Cowboys have other needs and they have high hopes for this season, drafting a back looks much more like a sexy pick rather than a pick that can benefit this team.
The big free agency signing for the Cowboys was Cedric Thornton. Everybody is excited to see what Thornton can bring to this front four and more importantly to this team's rush defense. But when you remember that Terrell McClain is coming back from injury, Tyrone Crawford's shoulder will be healed, and David Irving will continue to get comfortable and emerge, it becomes clearer that Dallas doesn't need to use a high draft pick on a defensive tackle, even with the deep pool of talent at the class.
This one is going to surprise some people, that's for sure. For the past four seasons, the combination of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne continues to let people down. But people forget in the playoffs a season ago when Carr was actually playing some real good football. Regardless of what the Cowboys will do with Byron Jones, Orlando Scandrick is making his way back to full health and if the Cowboys can get a pass rush to work with their three-headed veteran monster of Claiborne, Carr, and Scandrick, it really doesn't make sense to use a high draft pick on a cornerback.
You may think this means Jalen Ramsey isn't in play, but I think he's more of a defensive back rather than a specific cornerback or safety. Some fans continue to clamor that the Cowboys need massive refinement to their cornerback corps, but judging by what they have done this offseason, they seem to be comfortable with their group, rather than having to go out and sign someone like Brandon Boykin or Leon Hall.