I was thinking this morning about the Dallas Cowboys' draft and I remembered the scene in "The Wire" in which Proposition Joe tells Stringer Bell that boredom is what kills more cops than bullets and liquor. "You keep it boring, String," he says.
Now, I know things didn't turn out so great for Stringer and Prop Joe, but I think this is good advice tonight for the Cowboys. The aspect of Dallas' offseason so far that has earned them so much praise is that it hasn't been flashy. Yeah, they spent big on cornerback Brandon Carr, but that was a matter of filling their biggest need with a free agent, and paying what top free agents cost. They didn't jump into the Mario Williams sweepstakes, or overspend on the top offensive linemen. They picked and chose players they liked at the positions they needed, bringing in lesser-known linemen to compete with the youngsters they already have. They have stayed patient, rather than jump out and make the big, headline-grabbing moves for which they used to be known.
This should continue tonight and this weekend. The Cowboys have eight picks, and they need them. What their roster lacked most detrimentally last season was depth, particularly on defense. This isn't the year to make a dramatic first-round trade-up. Somebody asked me this morning on Twitter if they should go up and get Morris Claiborne. They should not. I don't even think they should move up into the top 10 if that's what it'll take to get Mark Barron or Fletcher Cox, two guys who should be at the top of their wish list. I believe they will find a good defensive player at No. 14 who can help them, and I think their best bet is to sit right there, keep all of the later-round picks to help address that depth problem, and take whoever's the highest-ranked defensive player still on their board.
In the blogger mock draft Monday, this is what I did for Dallas, and the guy I took was Michael Brockers. Cowboys fans yelled at me. Said I copped out. That I should have made a bold move up like I did with the Eagles. But the fact is, the Eagles have 10 picks, including two second-rounders, and a deeper NFL roster than the Cowboys have. They're in position to move up to get Cox if they so choose. The Cowboys would be making a mistake.
This Cowboys draft must, as the last two offseasons have, reflect Jason Garrett more than it reflects Jerry Jones. Everybody knows Jones has the final say in the draft room. Everybody knows Jones likes the splashy move. But this isn't the year to trade up for Dez Bryant. Jones has said all of the right things about wanting Garrett to be in a position to succeed, and he appears to be making good on those words. He will need to resist temptation tonight and continue along that same path. The Cowboys need as much help and as many players as possible. No. 14 isn't a bad place to be sitting in this first round. They'll get somebody there who can make an impact, right away and in the long term. There's no need to make a rash move up and sacrifice later picks. Keep it boring, Jerry. Keep it dead boring.