Five positions and players the Cowboys could look to draft
Often the benefactor of soft coverage and no safety help, Terrance Williams has had an inconsistent career with the Cowboys so far. The same can't be said about blossoming slot receiver Cole Beasley. If the Cowboys are looking to add another dimension to their offense, they could use an upgrade at outside receiver. Fortunately, this is another deep wide receiver class and the Cowboys don't need to use a premium pick to find a potential big-play receiver. Don't be surprised if they target Georgia's Chris Conley in the third round. He dominated the combine with eye-popping numbers, but if you watch some of his games you'll see a big receiver who makes plays down the field and in contested catch situations. This skill set matches up well with Tony Romo's passing style.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
With Sterling Moore's departure, the Cowboys are thin in the secondary. Orlando Scandrick is a plus starter, but it's hard to say the same about Morris Claiborne, the player he took over for last season. Brandon Carr has also struggled to establish himself as a plus starter. The Cowboys will have to address cornerback, but past first-round busts like Mike Jenkins and Claiborne might give Jerry Jones hesitation about using an early pick.Look for the team to target Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. FOX analyst Joel Klatt grades him as a first-round talent, but an ACL injury recovery that could last well into training camp could drop him into the third or fourth round. Jerry loves to gamble, and this move has high upside.
Getty ImagesSteve Dykes
The Cowboys will rely on Tyrone Crawford to take another step forward as the three-technique DT, but with Henry Melton gone, they will need another DT to rotate in. At the other DT position, the Cowboys rotate two or three average players. The Cowboys need to boost their defensive line, and the Hardy move was only the beginning. They could look to target Texas DT Malcolm Brown in the first round. At 319 pounds, Brown's best trait is his ability to stop the run. He could slide right in next to Crawford, and he would be a natural fit. He is also a versatile player who has stated he would play any position on the line and offers Rod Marinelli another chess piece to utilize. Brown is also known for his hard-working approach to the game, his leadership, and his off-field maturity. Teams like the fact that he is married with two children.
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY SportsBrendan Maloney
The Cowboys have already lost Justin Durant and Bruce Carter in free agency, and they still haven't come to terms with free agent Rolando McClain. On track to start over from all three LB starters to open the 2014 season, the Cowboys at least have a leg up with Sean Lee's return. Lee will now move to OLB and the Cowboys currently project journeyman signings Jasper Brinkley and Andrew Gachkar to compete for the starting MLB job. The Cowboys could look to add youth early; expect them to target TCU ILB Paul Dawson in round two. He passes the eye test and racked up big-time production at TCU. Draft analyst Lance Zierlein believes that he is the best LB in the class. There are some questions about his character, but Jerry Jones thrives on risk taking.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
The Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray and responded by tendering Lance Dunbar and signing Darren McFadden to a largely incentivized deal. Add Joseph Randle to the mix and you have group of talented backs that haven't proved themselves as foundation backs. After watching the success of the Cowboys' run-first offense, it seems safe to assume that they will try to find a new foundation back in what is thought to be the best RB class in several years. It makes sense for the Cowboys to target Boise State's Jay Ajayi in round two. Many analysts, including Greg Cosell, are buzzing about him. Ajayi has the size and speed combination, burst, and vision to be a great runner. He is already an excellent pass catcher, too. He would fit in nicely as the team's lead back for the 2015 season.