With the rush of free agency in the rear view mirror it is time to turn our attention to the NFL Draft, specifically team draft needs. In this article we look at the Dallas Cowboys draft needs for 2016 as we approach the April 28th first round from Chicago. It’s probably easier to list what the Cowboys DON’T need in the run up to the 2016 season. There are areas all across the team that need improvement, except perhaps on the offensive line and at kicker. The 2015 season was a study in the art of not having sufficient depth to cover key players who missed significant time, particularly Tony Romo, with the quarterback missing most of the season allowing the likes of Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden to show what they could do (if you didn’t notice – not a lot) and Dez Bryant, along with the sideshow that was Greg Hardy providing nowhere near the production Jason Garrett and the Jones family were hoping for when they brought the troubled pass rusher to Dallas.
Considering the above, it’s little surprise that drafting a serviceable to decent backup who can develop into a potential replacement for Tony Romo is one of the biggest things the Cowboys need to do. Whilst it’s likely that Carson Wentz and Jared Goff will be gone with picks one and two, it’s not implausible that the likes of Paxton Lynch will still be available when it comes to the turn of Dallas to make a selection. Put simply, Romo is a time bomb and the Cowboys have to be able to look to the future with some kind of knowledge as to where they’re going. Without a backup, they’ll be picking high in the draft again next year. It may not be the best year for the ‘boys to take a signal caller, however, and all of the QBs in the draft come with question marks which makes the trades into the top two selections remarkable.
A team doesn’t take on the kind of reclamation project that is Greg Hardy without having two things. One is a coaching staff who the ownership believes has what it takes to achieve such a feat, and the other is a serious need at the position. Perhaps the way that Dez Bryant was able to turn it around with the help of the organisation gave Dallas hope that they could have similar results with another elite level player. Alas no. The good news is that either Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner are likely to still be there when the Cowboys pick, and both are considered top ten prospects. With a pass rusher Dallas will be countering divisional rivals Philadelphia, who will be picking second and will both have a) a rookie quarterback and b) an offensive line that lacks talent at tackle. With the recently announced 4 game suspension of Demarcus Lawrence the need in this area only got more pronounced.
This is as much a case of the talent dictating the need as much as anything else. Indications are that the Cowboys are much enamoured of Jalen Ramsey, who firmly believes he is the best player in the draft and isn’t shy of saying so. In this brash self-confidence one can see that Ramsey should fit in well at Dallas, who do, in honesty, need to get some help at cornerback. It’s hard to see the Cowboys passing on Ramsey if the opportunity to take him is there, as he is both talented and will help to shore up their secondary. Ramsey would have no difficulties in playing on the big stage, and if his play backs up his mouth, he should prove a fan favourite for quite some time. An honourable mention should go to Running Back, as with the talent on the offensive line, a player like Ezekiel Elliot could prove deadly – this is, after all, a line one year removed from blocking for the rushing champion. The temptation is surely there if he is available, but taking a running back so high is surely questionable in today’s NFL, when needs are more pressing in other positions.