Monday, April 22, 2013
A new first-round OL name for Cowboys
By Dan Graziano
I spoke with Steve Muench of Scouts Inc., about the NFC East teams and the upcoming NFL draft in this Blogger Blitz video. We talked about all four teams -- even the Redskins, who aren't picking until late in the second round. Steve likes tackle Lane Johnson for the Eagles at No. 4 (assuming Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel are gone in the first three picks), figures on a cornerback for the Giants at No. 19 and expects that the Redskins will have good options at safety at No. 51.
But it's what Steve said about the Dallas Cowboys that really caught my attention. Steve agrees with the mock drafts that have the top six offensive linemen gone by the time Dallas picks, even though six offensive linemen haven't been picked in the first 17 picks since 1966, but there's a seventh offensive linemen Steve thinks would fit well and be a great pick for the Cowboys at No. 18 -- Syracuse's Justin Pugh, who played tackle in college but whose arms measured more like a guard's at the combine. Steve thinks Pugh could step in and play right away at right guard, and surely the Cowboys could use him there.
Jerry Jones said Monday he expects offensive linemen to go early in this draft. Everybody does, because there are no quarterbacks or running backs anyone loves for early in the first round. Jones also said he'd be interested in trading down, which might not be a bad idea for the Cowboys if the top six offensive linemen are gone by 18 and they think they can get Pugh later in the round. But these pre-draft news conferences really don't mean much, because teams aren't really going to reveal anything about their plans in public.
If you've been reading regularly, you guys know I think the Cowboys absolutely need to come out of Thursday night's first round with a new starter at one of the offensive line positions. I think it's such a crying short-term and long-term need that they'd be nuts not to make it happen. We're having our ESPN.com blogger mock draft Tuesday, complete with trades, and I'll be making the Cowboys' pick and get a chance to put my money where my mouth is. I'm interested to see whether one of the top six linemen is there at 18 or if I'll have to try and maneuver down to get in position for Pugh. Even if they can get a starting offensive lineman in the second round as well, I think the Cowboys have to find one in the first.