NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 7 Needs
1. S - 4.0
2. OT - 3.0
3. CB - 3.0
4. OG - 2.5
5. RB - 2.0
6. DE - 2.0
7. LB - 1.5
Position by Position Breakdown
Quarterback - Getting Romo back healthy next year should alleviate concerns at this position. Kitna had his moments this year as a fill-in and should be back as well. McGee is still developing as the No. 3. They might put a higher priority on adding a fourth arm into the mix than they normally would to push him, but this is not a need. NEED: 0.5
Running Back - The ground attack suffered this year, although production did pick up some, particularly from Felix Jones once Jason Garrett took over as interim coach. It would be a shock if Barber is back next year, and Choice will likely replace him. But Choice is an impending free agent after the 2011 season, so the team has signfiicant room to add more depth in this year's draft, particularly a big back that can fill some of that role that Barber previously provided. NEED: 2.0
Fullback - Gronkowski earned some infamy for missing the block that led to Romo's injury, but truth be told he played well this year for a rookie. The team will probably look at adding some depth, but it won't be a huge priority. NEED: 1.0
Wide Receiver - Austin had a disappointing year in comparison to last year, but the emergence of Dez Bryant as a good playmaker for a full season in 2011 should mean more positive things. The team will need to decide whether they should bring back Roy Williams for another year. He had his moments this year, but overall has just been underwhelming. The team likes the potential of Kevin Ogletree. If Williams is dumped however, the team likely will use a mid-to-late round pick on depth to replace him. If not, then they are fine here. NEED: 1.0
Tight End - WItten is still their go-to option in the passing game. They got some production from Martellus Bennett, and if John Phillips can come back next year, they should be fine here. NEED: 1.0
Offensive Tackle - There is talk that the team will dump right tackle Marc Colombo. His lack of durability and declining play is a cause for concern. Doug Free wasn't spectacular on the left side, but relative to the rest of the group is probably a strength. The Alex Barron experiment went nowhere, although the team could bring him back for another year as a cheap replacement for Colombo. But they would much rather prefer to bring in someone new and better. That could be a free agent. Even if Colombo is kept, expect that finding a bookend right tackle will be a priority in the draft. NEED: 3.0
Offensive Guard - There is also talk of a shake-up at this position as well. Kosier is a free agent, and while good, he's not been great, and also has missed time due to injuries over the years. Leonard Davis has seen declining play on the right side. The team has Montrae Holland, who is a capable reserve if they choose not to retain Kosier. But either way, expect them to draft somebody to help push the pile. NEED: 2.5
Center - Like Free, Gurode is very likely to retain his starting position. BUt if the team is going for a major shakeup up front, at the very least expect them to look at adding a backup center that can eventually push him as well. NEED: 1.0
Defensive Tackle - Ratliff wasn't his usual dominant self this year, but the team shouldn't be overly concerned about this position. They saw some bright spots from rookie Josh Brent, enough that they should feel pretty confident here going forward. NEED: 0.0
Defensive End - Olshanksy should be back. He isn't a big time player, but he's a good run defender. BUt the team will have to make decisions about the future of three free agents: Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen, and Jason Hatcher. Spears has been a perennial disappointment, but has played better the past two years. But with him coming off injury, he'll probably be the most likely to go. Bowen is probably the most likely to return, and should fill Spears vacated starting spot if that proves to be the case. Hatcher will probably be the cheapest of the three. But even if the team keeps two, expect them to try and find some depth this April in the draft. NEED: 2.0
Linebacker - The team got some late season production from Sean Lee, which means they are pretty solid with their starting four: Spencer, James, and Ware included. This is the contract year for both James and Spencer, along with Keith Brooking. They will have to make a decision whether they want to keep Brooking for his price tag as a reserve. Spencer should get an extension, and James has also played well enough to merit a long-term contract. They've spent quite a few picks here, adding depth like Victor Butler, but they will continue to be on the lookout for good, young playmakers, especially if it proves to save them some money in the near future. NEED: 1.5
Cornerback - Jenkins and Newman struggled throughout the year, and were two of the bigger reasons for the team's drop-off in production on defense. But both should be back, along with Orlando Scandrick. But their drop in production likely will have the team use a relatively high pick here for depth and insurance in case they don't have a rebound season in 2011. NEED: 3.0
Safety - This is an area of concern. Alan Ball struggled as a starter and if he returns it will likely be to return to a role in their nickel or dime packages, such as before. Sensabaugh is a free agent, and could come back, but it likely won't be without some competition to push him. The Cowboys would love to find a dual threat here that can be a factor vs. the run and pass. NEED: 4.0
Kicker - Buehler has a big leg and is one of the best kickoff guys in the biz, but his accuracy is erratic. The team signed Kris Brown at the end of the season and the pair will compete next year. NEED: 0.0
Punter - McBriar has one of the strongest legs in the league, and is entering a contract year. But he's given little cause for concern that he won't be here for a number of more seasons. NEED: 0.5
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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