The Cowboys pick ninth, which means they’ll have an opportunity to really infuriate a longtime rival. KD Drummond from Blogging The Boys has more on Dallas and the upcoming draft:
1. Possibly the best part about your team’s draft spot: you get to potentially steal a player or two from the Redskins. Your thoughts?
It’s always a good time when you can steal a piece of chicken off the rival’s dinner plate. With the Redskins employing a 3-4 defense, they’ve now joined the derby for the five-technique ends and the pass-rushing outside backers. Dallas is in need of a defensive end to replace free agent Marcus Spears or upgrade Igor Olshansky. You also can never have enough pass rushers, and Anthony Spencer isn’t above being upgraded. The one area we are strong in, offensive skill positions, is the biggest Redskins’ need, so I’d expect them not to be too frustrated when we make a selection. Stealing a player the ‘Skins are targeting would be a silver lining, but we all would like to leave them at the top of the draft and have earned a pick in the 30s.
2. What’s the top need? Cornerback and offensive tackle come to mind first for me.
Cornerback is a target area, although I think most of the issues we saw last year were the direct result of the safety position. Unfortunately this is a weak safety draft. I saw an advanced stat analysis that said our defense would have improved 550 yards if we had even average safety play in 2010. That’s an outstanding impact and for that reason I am reserving judgment on Mike Jenkins and injured Terrence Newman. Obviously if Patrick Peterson is available you grab him, but we have too many needs to sell the farm to acquire the LSU stud.
Offensive tackle had no such excuses. Marc Colombo graded out as the third worst tackle in the league according to Pro Football Focus. The problem is that No. 9 is too early for a right tackle, and Doug Free will probably command left tackle money. Those are the excuses someone like Jerry Jones needs to avoid throwing a first-round pick at a big ugly.
3. Is there an under-the-radar position of need that comes to mind? A pass rusher maybe?
There’s plenty of room for roster upheaval in Dallas. Defensive end as mentioned before, or a double-digit sack guy opposite Demarcus Ware would be great. Both safety positions need improvement. Under the radar, though? That would have to be middle linebacker or defensive tackle. There’s a sentiment among some fans to move Jay Ratliff back to end and bring in a big body for the middle. Inside linebacker Bradie James is above average, but the rotation with Sean Lee could use a third top-notch player since Keith Brooking started on Centrum Silver. If the value is there, either position may be a target.
4. Any specific players you’re hoping they target?
Being that the top of the draft is so fluid this year, anything can happen and prospects shouldn’t be eliminated as out of reach. I’d trade up slightly for Peterson or Von Miller. I’d stay put for Marcel Dareus, Nick Fairley and maybe Tyron Smith. I’d be happy with a move back and cornerbacls Prince Amukamara or Brandon Harris, defensive ends Cameron Jordan or Muhammad Wilkerson, offensive tackles Gabe Carimi, Anthony Castonzo or Derek Sherrod. Most anyone else and I hope they have a future first-round pick attached to them in a deal.
In the middle rounds, I’m a big fan of Hampton defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis and Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling. In the late rounds I’m rooting for Idaho safety Shiloh Keo and Royal’s Leslie Michael Jasper at nose tackle. He’s a small-school prospect brought to my attention by one of our members with an eye for this type of find. The kid is almost 400 pounds and had a 33″ vertical at his pro day.