After several straight offseasons filled with few big-name free-agent signings and draft picks that haven't had tremendous impact, the Dallas Cowboys have done the exact opposite this year.
America's Team went out and signed the most players it ever has during the free-agency era and through three rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft, finds itself with two players who immediately upgrade their talent on the defensive side of the football.
With many experts believing the Cowboys would take Alabama safety Mark Barron, they pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the first round when they made the deal with St. Louis to move to the sixth overall pick in exchange for their first and second round selections. And with that top 10 pick, Dallas drafted an immediate starter and the best cornerback in the draft in Morris Claiborne out of LSU.
After watching Terence Newman get torched far too often and Mike Jenkins battle injuries for the second straight season, the Cowboys realized that their secondary was by far their weakest position on defense.
Now with former Kansas City Chief Brandon Carr and the LSU product to main the starting two positions at corner, and having the pair of Orlando Scandrick and Mike Jenkins to come in other packages, Dallas has one of the most formidable secondaries in the NFC East division.
Giving up the 14th pick in both the first and second round is a small price to pay to draft the best player at your biggest need position in the draft.
Waiting what must have felt like forever in the Cowboys war room, Dallas finally got to make a selection in the third round, bringing Boise State defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford into the fold. Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware just got themselves a whole lot of help in the "pressure on the quarterback" department.
While Ratliff is a physical beast on the line and the Cowboys have the likes of Ware, Sean Lee, and newly signed Dan Connor in the linebacking corps, Crawford gives defensive coordinator Rob Ryan someone to plug at defensive end where the 'Boys struggled to see solid production from in 2011. Last year's starters at defensive end, Jason Hatcher and Kenyon Coleman had just five and a half sacks between the two of them.
If he learns Ryan's schemes fast enough, Coleman could easily beat out the aforementioned two and start right away for America's Team and at worst he provides both players depth should injuries occur. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett commented on the former Boise State player to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, stating:
“He played at a very good program. A number of players the last few days have been drafted from Boise. He played a high level of competition, he played the right way, he practiced the right way."
Dallas is certainly making the most of their picks and focusing on bringing their defense up to the caliber the team's offense is already at. With several more picks left in Dallas' arsenal, it will be interesting to see the Cowboys' war room continues their early success.