As we embark on the NFL Scouting combine in Indianapolis this week lets look at what direction the Dallas Cowboys need to head into the draft and fill some holes in Free Agency this year.
The Cowboys are expected to have nine draft picks. They currently own their first, second, third, fourth and sixth-round picks. They should get another fourth-rounder and three seventh-rounders for their losses in free agency last year.
For all the needs the Cowboys want to fill like cornerback, defensive line, running back, linebacker, safety and quarterback positions it will be virtually impossible for them to fill them via the draft so the Cowboys will have to use free agency to a small degree to fill those holes.
Where should the Cowboys look to go in Free agency?
Running back makes the most logical sense. Darren McFadden rushed for over 1000 yards and with Lance Dunbar coming off a torn ACL injury from last year and is a free agent. So I am not sold on him as part of the running back tandem. Last year it showed they were only willing so far to pay a running back and let DeMarco Murray walk.
I loved Murray but he was too expensive. All rumblings are he wants to go back to Dallas but will the Eagles let him go remains to be seen. There guys like Doug Martin, Chris Ivory, and Lamar Miller will demand top dollar in the market and are too pricey. Or will the Cowboys go after Matt Forte who’s age is a factor as he is pushing 30.
The draft will have a number of qualified candidates but last year the Cowboys never saw a player match up with the grade so they did not select a running back.
The news that Randy Gregory has been suspended for the first four games of next year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy doesn’t really add the Cowboys need at defensive end. Greg Hardy most definitely won’t be back as that experiment turned out bad. Might they re sign Jeremy Mincey or go after Chris Long who was released by the Rams. That might be a option as well.
The draft doesn’t have many top tier pass rushers but there is depth at defensive end and defensive tackle. Linebacker is another need. Could the cowboys with the fourth pick select UCLA Miles Jack, as Rolando McClain is a free agent and he needs to be clean if the Cowboys will resign him.
The Cowboys need to address cornerback also in free agency and the Draft. They won’t give out a lot of money to a corner back as the experiment with Morris Claiborne has failed. Brandon Carr has a huge cap number of 13.8 million unless he is willing to take a pay cut and Orlando Scandrick is coming off knee surgery. Playing time could hinder the cowboys drafting a wide receiver in the draft. They might want to draft a tight end as Gavin Escobar is still recovering after injuring his Achilles last season.
Then there is the whole debate about quarterback considering Tony Romo’s health. He will be having surgery on his broken clavicle. Will the Cowboys take a chance and draft a quarterback as a backup to Romo or will they give Kellen Moore a chance and sign FA Colt McCoy is available as short term hole. As much as the combine is about the draft Agents and owners will discuss contracts for free agency as long as they don’t fall into illegal tampering rules. These questions and much more will determine where the cowboys head into free agency and in the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys have to be smart and diligent as the window of opportunity is closing for Romo and Witten and this is a win no league.