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Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Random thoughts on Cowboys' draft

By Calvin Watkins

We've got Five Wonders from Todd Archer and now we have our random thoughts on the draft.

1. Yes, the Cowboys like Johnny Manziel. They like his arm strength. They like his ability to move in the pocket. They like his play-making ability. But he can't go to the Cowboys. Realistically, the Cowboys know he won't fall to No. 16. Realistically, if he falls out of the top 10, there might be something wrong. I don't believe the Cowboys will move up to take Manziel. There are too many holes on this team before you even consider taking Manziel.

2. Our guys have the Cowboys taking Calvin Pryor, the safety from Louisville, with the 16th overall pick. At the start of this draft process, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama was on the radar for the Cowboys. This has all changed. After watching some tape of both, I thought Pryor was a faster player and was a better tackler. But Clinton-Dix performed better in pass coverage. A front office official thought there wasn't much difference between the two players. If the Cowboys draft Pryor, it doesn’t mean the end of Barry Church. The Cowboys’ safeties are interchangeable. If the Cowboys take a safety it puts players such as Matt Johnson, J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath on notice.

3. It's hard to project mid-round draft picks, but watch out for inside linebacker Andrew Jackson from Western Kentucky. Cowboys like the 6-foot-1, 254-pounder. It looks like he can play the weakside and strongside linebacker spots. The Cowboys could use some competition at the inside linebacker positions for Bruce Carter and Justin Durant. Sean Lee's status is secure as the middle linebacker, so taking a shot at Jackson would mainly be for the other two linebacker spots. One of the things the Cowboys must do is find a special-teams ace. Last season, Jeff Heath led the team with 13 special-teams tackles, but his status with the team could be cloudy if the team drafts a safety. This is where a player like Jackson fits in. He’s a backup linebacker who also plays special teams, something you want from your mid-round picks.

4. At the start of free agency, I thought the Cowboys should have signed a veteran wide receiver. As we've progressed this offseason, I’m not in favor of it anymore. You need young, big and fast players at that position. The Cowboys have Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams as the projected starters along with Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris providing solid backup roles. There's nothing wrong with drafting another wideout in, say, the fifth round to add depth to the position. It would also create competition among Beasley and Harris.

5. Here’s what the Cowboys need to replace along the defensive line in 2014: 68 quarterback pressures, 10 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. Can Henry Melton get half the quarterback pressures and at least eight sacks in 2014? Maybe, but if the Cowboys select a pass-rushing end to pair up with Melton, maybe the Cowboys can reach those totals. By the way, the combined numbers I gave you were from DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, who are both playing elsewhere.