What should Cowboys do with first-round pick?

What should the Cowboys do in the first round?

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(Total votes: 3,351)

TAKE BEST PLAYER
DRAFT A SAFETY

Don't stray from the draft board

Watkins By Calvin Watkins
ESPNDallas.com
Archive

Making a move in the NFL draft isn't a foreign concept to Jerry Jones, as he's made 59 draft-day trades since becoming owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

Just ask former coach Wade Phillips, who marveled at how Jones worked the phones in search of extra picks during the draft.

When your team has missed the playoffs for three seasons, trading should no longer be an option.

The Cowboys have the 18th overall selection in Thursday's NFL draft. They should forget about trying to trade down to gain an extra second- or third-round pick in what is a deep draft in the secondary and among offensive and defensive linemen.

The Cowboys can't afford to do that. Just stay put and draft an impact player who can produce in 2013.

Coach Jason Garrett's job is on the line now more than ever. Getting an extra pick for Friday night's portion of the draft sounds cute but isn't needed.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said it best Monday: "The big thing is you do have to play young guys earlier. I mean, I think that's paramount, especially with the cap where it is, not having moved in three or four years."

When the Cowboys' name is called Thursday night, there should be at least five guys that they're willing to take, five guys who should be able to make an impact in 2013.

They can't mess around now, especially with teams in their division cutting veterans in search of young talent who can make plays now.

Grab the best player on the board. Forget about getting a need player. Find the best man possible.

If the best man available is a wide receiver, get him. If the best man available is a pass-rusher, get him. If the best man available is a guard, get him.

We're not saying it's easy. The draft is a 50-50 deal. For every success story (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III), I'll give you a nightmare (Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell).

When it's time to draft Thursday night, Jones should pick up the phone and not call another team to work a deal. He should call New York to divulge just whom it is that the Cowboys are selecting with the 18th pick.

It should be pretty simple.

Would fix inability to force turnovers

Locker By Landry Locker
ESPNDallas.com
Archive

One of the benefits, or consequences, of being a back-to-back 8-8 team is that the Dallas Cowboys will have many needs heading into the 2013 NFL draft.

Offensive line, defensive line and safety are, by most accounts, the Cowboys' three biggest needs heading into the draft. There's not really a wrong answer among the three when discussing what position the Cowboys' firstround pick should play, but one of these positions has been ignored for way too long.

Could the Cowboys use help along the offensive line to protect Tony Romo? Yes. Could they use more bodies along the defensive line for Monte Kiffin's new 4-3 Tampa 2 scheme? Absolutely.

However, the Cowboys have needed a playmaking, ball-hawking safety for a long, long time -- since a young Roy Williams roamed the defensive backfield.

Despite the team's well-documented struggles along the offensive line, the Cowboys were sixth in the league in total offense last season.

On the other hand, the Cowboys tied for 29th in the NFL with 16 takeaways last season, including being tied for last in the NFL with seven interceptions. When the team fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in the offseason, Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones cited the team's inability to force turnovers as the main reason for the firing.

Many football experts will argue that it all starts up front and that pressuring the quarterback is the way to force takeaways, which is true. But in Ryan's defensive scheme, the best pass-rushers were often in coverage and not rushing the quarterback.

In Kiffin's scheme, DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer will be rushing the quarterback virtually every pass play, which should automatically improve the pass rush.

That improved pass rush needs the company of a safety who can make plays, which is nothing new.

Just a year ago, the Cowboys were linked to Alabama safety Mark Barron heading into the 2012 draft. Instead, Jerry & Co. traded up to the No. 6 spot and selected LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne rather than Barron, who went one pick later to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and went on to have a good rookie season.

A year later, the Cowboys still need a safety, and they'll have an opportunity to fill that need in the first round.

That's why, when the Cowboys are on the clock Thursday night, they need to pick either Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro or LSU safety Eric Reid.

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