The Dallas Cowboys, as everyone remembers, sucked balls last year. The Mike McCarthy era started about as bad as you could imagine. Dak got hurt and the Cowboys rotated QBs until landing on a very uninspired Andy Dalton (good luck Chicago!), the OL was decimated by injuries, and the defense was among the worst in the NFL.
Hope springs eternal, however, and that hope began on January 8th when the Cowboys THANKFULLY fired Mike Nolan, the defensive coordinator that was 100% responsible for the defense being a dumpster fire. That firing was necessary for Mikey Mac to keep his job. Another positive sign that the Cowboys are serious about making changes to the defense came when they replaced Nolan with Dan Quinn. Automatically, Dallas was able to pick up defensive players that Dan Quinn coached during his time in Atlanta.
The roster changed quite a bit on the defensive end during this free agency which changes how this team will draft tomorrow. Let’s recap:
LB Sean Lee (Retired)
QB Andy Dalton (Free Agency)
DE Aldon Smith (Free agent)
P Chris Jones (Cut)
FB Jamize Olawale (Cut)
S Xavier Woods (Free Agency)
TE Blake Bell (Free Agency)
OL Cameron Erving (Free Agency)
DE Tyrone Crawford (Retired)
LB Joe Thomas (Free Agency)
LS L.P. Ladouceur (Unsigned Free Agent)
S Chidobe Awuzie (Free Agent)
S Jayron Kearse
DE Tarell Basham
TE Jeremy Sprinkle
S/OLB Keanu Neal
S Damontae Kazee
DT Carlos Watkins
TE Shaun Beyer
S Maurice Canady
WR Stephen Guidry
P Bryan Anger
For a team with a lot of needs, fortunately the Cowboys have a shit ton of draft picks.
Round 1 - 10th-overall
Round 2 - 44th-overall
Round 3 - 75th-overall
Round 3 - 99th-overall (compensatory pick: Byron Jones)
Round 4 - 115th-overall
Round 4 - 138th-overall (compensatory pick: Robert Quinn)
Round 5 - 179th-overall (compensatory pick: Randall Cobb)
Round 6 - 192nd-overall
Round 6 - 227th-overall (compensatory pick: Jeff Heath)
Round 7 - 238th-overall
There was some chatter that if Kyle Pitts for some reason slipped to #10, Jerry would take a player of ZERO need (Blake Jarwin when healthy is a top 10 Tight End and Dalton Schultz is a solid backup) especially since this team is loaded with weapons. Dak does not need more players to throw to. If Jerry were to draft Pitts, Cowboys Nation would go into full on meltdown mode.
It’s pretty clear that the first REAL priority is fixing the secondary. So corner is the move.
They did a good job of wiping the board clean by moving on from Chido (signed with the Bengals) and Xavier (signed with the Vikings). I think the Cowboys will (unless something bananas happens) take either USC CB Jaycee Horn or Bama CB Patrick Surtain II at #10. It’s hard for me to swallow this reality given how much Cowboys fans REALLY wanted Penei Sewell, who by all intents and purposes is a generational talent who could be the LT for the next 15 plus years. Tyron Smith has been plagued with injuries and if he were to go down again, that would pretty much immediately fuck this offense up and the season as a whole. On top of that, Zach Martin and La’el Collins were also hurt last year. All of that to say, the offensive line needs are there.
1st Round: #10: Surtain or Horn?
Assuming Sewell or Slater are not there at #10, Cowboys for sure take a corner. In terms of which player I would prefer the Cowboys to draft, I think Horn is our man. He isn’t as technically sound as Surtain and both will be really good pros but this defense was SOFT last year and Jaycee Horn is a dog. In fact, Florida TE Kyle Pitts just told Jerry Jones that Horn was the toughest player he had to face last year in college. He’s quick, physical, and explosive just like his dad, Joe Horn and ultimately what he lacks in technical ability, he makes up for in versatility.
2nd Round: #44: S or LB?
I have had my eye on Jevon Holland from Oregon for a while now. I don’t care that the Boys picked up Kearse, Kazee and Neal. Neal won’t even play S since Quinn said he’d be starting at outside linebacker (he’s much like Derwin James in that he’s a HUGE safety size wise). The safeties last year were down right atrocious, disgusting (besides Donovan Wilson) and allowed receivers to catch over the middle at will. Fuck that. We need to beef up our safeties stat. I know Jerry and Stephen said they won’t take “fliers” on players that opted out but if Holland is there at #44 I think you have to go for it. He will be able to step in and start RIGHT AWAY. Adding Holland to Kazee, Wilson and Neal? I think this is actually a respectable secondary.
In the later rounds, I think the Cowboys get a serviceable OT, bolster their linebacker corps, (especially Cowboys said they are waiting to sign Leighton Vander Esch’s 5th year option until after the draft), more depth at DT, and also they still have need at Edge. Hard to predict who will be there when but with 10 picks in this year’s draft, I see seven of them being on the defensive side of the ball. And thank god for that.
We’ll be going live tomorrow night on the Barstool’s En Eff El Draft Show live-streamed on the blog, YT and Twitter. Make sure to watch Rone and Brandon Walker who host alongside our “draft expert” Steven Cheah. I’ll be there for the Cowboys pick to give my thoughts. No trolling.