2011 Mock Draft Primer: The Dallas Cowboys
It’s time now to discuss the Dallas Cowboys and their ninth overall pick and what they may do with it.
The Cowboys are the one team picking in the Top 10 that should not be here. By all measures, they were a team with Super Bowl aspirations a year ago, and are now picking at the top of the draft. But this type of situation doesn’t have to be that negative, as a similar thing happened to the 2003 Pittsburgh Steelers. They managed to snag Ben Roethlisberger with their eleventh overall pick, and immediately returned to being contenders with a Lombardi trophy two years later.
If the Cowboys play their cards right, a similar thing can happen to them. The right pick can quickly swing the pendulum back upwards for them. And I think the pick that could make that happen is Alabama’s Marcell Dareus.
The main issues that plagued the Dallas Cowboys last year was their defense, offensive line, and running game. Also their quarterback situation was bad once Tony Romo went down with an injury, but that’s not an area they need addressing.
First let’s broach the defense, that was headlined by a poor secondary. Corners Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins gave up play after play, and their safety group is pretty average. The player atop the Cowboys draft board for these reasons will most likely be LSU corner Patrick Peterson. But I have him going No. 2 overall to Denver. But the Cowboys could potentially like him enough to trade up and get him. Peterson could start at either corner or safety for the Cowboys. If not Peterson, the Cowboys will also think long and hard about taking Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara. Not as sexy a pick as Peterson, but still a very good value for a Cowboys team that needs a lot of help.
Also on defense, the Cowboys could stand to use some help up front. Rob Ryan is taking over as defensive coordinator, getting bigger and better up front is probably a need. And with Alabama’s Marcell Dareus still on the board in this mock, then he makes a ton of sense. But the Cowboys would also consider Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt or Cal’s Cameron Jordan with this pick if Dareus was off the board.
Up front, USC’s Tyron Smith is widely regarded as the top tackle. The positive for Smith is that the Cowboys need a right tackle more than a left. Smith could replace Marc Colombo on the right side, and potentially develop down the road as a left tackle. But the ninth overall pick seems a bit high for a guy that is as much a project as Smith is.
The Cowboys could also use help to their running game with disappointing years from Marion Barber and Felix Jones alike. A player like Mark Ingram makes a lot of sense for them. But again, ninth overall is probably a bit of a reach. But they could try and move back a few spots and take him. Ingram is often compared to Emmitt Smith, and if Jerry Jones agrees with that assessment, then he certainly will be on the Cowboys radar.
But in the end, with a guy like Peterson off the board, the Cowboys have to look at the best player available, and that’s clearly Marcell Dareus. He can play end in their 3-4, and together with Jay Ratliff should give the Cowboys a very formidable front in terms of its ability to pressure the quarterback.