Dallas Cowboys' Draft Needs: How About a Safe(ty) Pick

Categories: Dallas Cowboys

Alan Ball.jpg
Enough of this asinine stuff about "best player available." What if, somehow, at No. 9 in April's NFL Draft that player happens to be a tight end? A weakside linebacker? A punter? Or, God and Tim Cowlishaw forbid, a quarterback?

Under that premise, the Cowboys -- 6-10 and desperate for help on the field right now -- would use their pick on rookies who wouldn't see the field while sitting behind Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Mat McBriar and Tony Romo, all in their prime. Just doesn't make sense.

If you're 2-14 with no hope of winning a Super Bowl, yeah, draft for the future. But if you think you're only one or two players away and have the momentum of a new head coach on your side, draft for need. Every time.

And what exactly is the Cowboys' biggest need entering this off-season and this weekend's scouting combine?

Safety. No doubt.

The Cowboys told us last training camp that Alan Ball would be okay. It was Jerry Jones who trumpeted "improvement from within." He's never been more wrong. Ball doesn't have the coverage skills or playmaking knack to be a safety. A special teams standout? Sure.

And 2010's other starter -- Gerald Sensabaugh -- made some plays (five interceptions), but one of the lasting images of the 6-10 disaster will be Ball and Sensabaugh pointing to each other in the end zone as the opponent lined up for yet another extra point, as if to say "I thought you had him?!" Combined, they were the porous back end of the worst pass defense in the history of the franchise.

Ball. Sensabaugh. Ken Hamlin. Keith Davis. Patrick Watkins. Tony Dixon. Lynn Scott.

While the Cowboys have trotted out those underwhelmers in recent years, their safety position hasn't been an asset since way back in 2003 when the starters were Roy Williams and Darren Woodson.

Thankfully, Ball and Sensabaugh are both free agents. Can't imagine Sensabaugh being re-signed. Maybe Ball, but with a demotion.

Available NFL free agents include the Rams' O.J. Atogwe, the Raiders' Michael Huff, Dawan Landry of the Ravens and the oft-injured Bob Sanders of the Colts. As for the draft, the bad news is it's not exactly a strong crop. UCLA's Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter of OU are rated the best prospects, but both projected as late first-rounders.

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Can you count on a second round safety to come in and be a starter though? Ok if they sign Atogwe or Brodney Poole and then draft a safety in the second round to compete for the other spot, maybe. But if you just hand guys starting jobs with no competition, they almost always disappoint. I wouldn't mind if they brought Sensy back on a shorter term deal, brought in a FS, and then tried to develop any draft picks and Ansah, Church, McCray, and anybody else. But just because you draft a guy #9 doesn't mean he's going to be good.


Jerry will probably try to prove how clever his is by continually trading down so he ends up with four 5th round and four 6th round draft picks, make his picks, and they will be cut by October. He and the Cowboys can't evaluate and can't draft.


Last year the Cowboys needed a safety, tackle, and kicker. OJ Atogwe was available via free agency, Marcus McNeill was available via trade for one of the running backs, and Matt Stover was sitting at home in Dallas.

While the Cowboys blatantly quit on Wade Phillips last year, they still probably would have made the playoffs if they had addressed those positions. Atogwe will probably be on the market again, but no one would trade for one of the Dallas running backs after last season, and Stover was so old that he was certainly just a one year fix.

Jerry Jones arrogantly decided the answers were already on the roster. Now the Cowboys still need a safety, tackle, and kicker, but a guard and a defensive end have been added to the list of needs, also.

Oh, let's not forget that Terence Newman appears to be ready for the age-induced catastrophic drop off in production like the ones Marc Colombo and Keith Brooking experienced last year.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Leave the draft to the pro's like Norm and the Goose, RW. You're niche is rating the QB's like a special needs child. But hey, you're a really fine functioning sn child.