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50 thoughts on free agency, the draft, and the state of the 2018 Dallas Cowboys

What’s on your mind, Cowboys fans?

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fifty days from now we all will be jacked up with excitement as the NFL Draft will be right in front of us. It’s going to be fun times once it gets here, but in the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with 50 thoughts encompassing the free agency, the draft, and just some random nuggets about the current state of the team.

  1. Tag or no tag, DeMarcus Lawrence is staying in Dallas.
  2. If the Cowboys draft Vita Vea, they will send two defensive linemen to the Pro Bowl next season - DeMarcus Lawrence and Maliek Collins.
  3. Since Adrian Peterson was drafted, there have only been a few running backs that have flashed greatness coming out of college. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott are two of them. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is another.
  4. The New York Giants have the number two overall pick in the draft behind Cleveland. I don’t want the Cowboys to have to face Barkley twice a year. Please, Cleveland - don’t screw this up.
  5. The Cowboys currently have four players on the roster with the last name Smith. If the best linebacker in college falls to 19, they’ll have five. The league limit for how many Smiths you can have on one team is 53.
  6. The Cowboys had a lot of Smith’s on their roster when they were winning Super Bowls in the ‘90s (Emmitt, Kevin, Darrin, Vinson, and Jimmy).
  7. With so many stellar performances at the combine so far, there could be a record 50+ players drafted in the first round this year.
  8. It was a night and day difference for Anthony Brown last year depending on whether he was a starter or coming off the bench. He won’t be starting next season.
  9. Florida State’s Derwin James is a super-athletic, instinctive, hard-hitting player that any team with needs at strong safety would love to have. The Cowboys are a team with a need at strong safety.
  10. James won’t likely make it out of the top 10, but if he does...he might make it out of the top 15 (based on pressing needs of other teams). Trading 19 + 80 to get James would be a good day for the Cowboys.
  11. The most the Cowboys spend on a free agent from another team will be in the $4 million (annual) range. Half of you are going to love him, half are going to hate him, and half will have never heard of him.
  12. I was never that good at fractions.
  13. Jaylon Smith will perform better than Myles Jack in 2018...and in every year thereafter.
  14. The most important lesson to learn from the Philadelphia Eagles is that talent will get you far, but depth will get you farther.
  15. I wish I knew if Maliek Collin’s struggles this season was attributed to not being a good 1-tech DT or the stress fracture to the fifth metatarsal that required surgery after the season ended.
  16. A six-man rotation of Lawrence, Collins, David Irving, Tyrone Crawford, Taco Charlton, and Vita Vea could give the Cowboys one of the best defensive lines in football.
  17. The Rod Marinelli “bend but don’t break” style of defense is going to take a few more chances with the addition of Kris Richard to the coaching staff. Look for a more aggressive secondary in 2018.
  18. Slap a first-round tender on David Irving. Why are we even discussing doing anything else?
  19. Before you get upset if the Cowboys draft an unsexy tight end, just remember - they could get a rookie for four years for the same price it would cost to pay James Hanna in 2018. It’s business.
  20. Any time you can land a roster-worthy player for less than $1 M per year, that’s a big win.
  21. What the Cowboys should do with Orlando Scandrick should be broken into these three choices - (A) cut him now, (B) spend $3 million more and keep him for another season, or (C) spend $7 million more and keep him for two more seasons. How much is Scandrick’s on-field ability and veteran presence to a young cornerback group worth to you?
  22. If the Cowboys move Byron Jones to corner, the answer to 21 is A.
  23. Between 1-10 (with ten being the highest), how good do you think Dez Bryant is? Now add whatever number you need to get to 9. Great. Now, we’re all on the same page.
  24. There are a lot of different opinions about how good Dez Bryant is, but the only opinion that matters to me is the opposing safety and where he positions himself. That tells me all I need to know.
  25. If there are any free agent wide receivers that you would be excited to add to this offense, just stop because he’s too expensive.
  26. Any free agent wide receiver that is affordable is nothing more than a Brice Butler type of replacement.
  27. The best chance to grab a difference maker at an affordable price will come after round two of the draft. One of these receivers should be available at pick 81 - Dante Pettis (Washington), Daesean Hamilton (Penn State), Marcel Ateman (Oklahoma State), or Equanimeous St.Brown (Notre Dame).
  28. See #20.
  29. The Cowboys first-round pick should be the very best player on their board when they are on the clock. If it fits a major need, we’ll rejoice. If it doesn’t, we’ll rejoice later.
  30. I really don’t want the first-round pick to be an offensive lineman, but #29 is non-negotiable.
  31. Beavers can hold their breathe for up to 45 minutes.
  32. I got #31 from a Snapple cap.
  33. Don’t read too much into Charles Haley’s comments about Taco Charlton. Remember, Uma Thurman and Pai Mei got off to a rocky start at first too, but then later she was ripping Daryl Hannah’s eye out.
  34. Jerry Jones has been a very dangerous owner when he acts on his own impulse and made hasty decisions that he felt would turn this team into a Super Bowl Champion. Dangerous in a bad way.
  35. Nobody has made Jerry be less like Jerry than how Jason Garrett has over the last several years. Jerry is doing all the talking, but Jason is now pulling some of those strings.
  36. A couple weeks ago, I thought the idea of taking D.J. Moore at 50 was terrible because there will be better players still on the board. I was wrong.
  37. Right now, I think the idea of taking D.J. Moore at 19 is terrible because there will be better players still on the board. I’m not wrong this time.
  38. If the Cowboys miss out on Vita Vea, Da’Ron Payne is a nice consolation prize.
  39. Cooper Rush will be the most exciting player to watch in preseason. Again.
  40. Dak Prescott will be the most exciting player to watch in the regular season.
  41. Dan Bailey will be Dan Bailey again in 2018.
  42. Cowboys fans are jumping up and down pleading the front office to stop being so complacent in free agency and make a big move!
  43. Those same fans have completely forgotten about the Brandon Carr contract. This is the first year he’s off the books and already that extra money is burning a hole in their pocket.
  44. If you take a shot every time a quarterback is taken before pick 19, you’re going to be so happy about who the Cowboys select, regardless of whose name is called.
  45. The best edge rusher in the draft is N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb. If you had a time machine and went back a year, it would Boston College’s Harold Landry. If you went forward a year, it could be UTSA’s Marcus Davenport.
  46. The Cowboys have no shot at Chubb, but Landry and/or Davenport should be there at 19.
  47. The most important position in football, after quarterback, are edge rushers.
  48. If the Cowboys select UTEP’s stud guard, Will Hernandez, Ezekiel Elliott might run for 2,000+ yards.
  49. If the Cowboys select Washington stud defensive tackle, Vita Vea, the defense might have 42+ sacks and 25+ takeaways.
  50. Either 48 or 49 will help the Cowboys be a strong playoff contender.

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