Dallas Cowboys: 2013 Draft Prospects They Should Already Be Scouting
Dontari Poe? Mark Barron? Michael Brockers? Trade down? Well, how about Morris Claiborne.
Not only did Jerry Jones surprise us all with the selection, but he acted swiftly and aggressively in filling perhaps the Cowboys' biggest need.
While we wait anxiously for Claiborne and the other draft picks to take the field and make their mark on this team, a scout's job is not only never done, but it's never ending.
By now, they have taken in spring practices and spring games at just about every major program in the country and also have compiled lists that are littered with data of senior and draft-eligible prospect for the 2013 draft.
It's simply known as the business of football. For the Dallas Cowboys, business needs to be open all day and every day in order to get this franchise back to where it rightfully belongs.
It's about being prepared, leaving no stone unturned and making the commitment to evaluation and player development.
Ultimately, nobody knows what the results of the 2012 season will produce for the Cowboys.
It's hard to fully predict which big-name players will step up, which less-heralded players will produce and, perhaps most difficult, what the team needs will be for the 2013 NFL draft.
With the organization's philosophy—especially the influence of Jason Garrett and the collective decision-making process—the Cowboys simply need to focus on selecting the best football players for this team.
I'd like to focus on what I feel are some logical needs based on factors such as contract status, salary cap and areas they failed to address in 2012.
Let's take a look at some of these dynamite prospects for 2013 that should be under close surveillance.
Sam Montgomery/Barkevious Mingo, LSU, OLB/DE
I listed Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo as potential interests of the Cowboys for two reasons: talent and team need.
Both players are fast, athletically gifted and are disruptive forces that can apply a lot of pressure. As a huge SEC fan, I've seen this duo perform at a high level in the best conference in the country.
Both stand 6'5" and 245 pounds. They are certain to become draft eligible with big years ahead of them. They bring the heat off the edge and that's what this team needs.
With the uncertainty of Anthony Spencer's future, DeMarcus Ware getting older and not knowing what we have in Kyle Wilber, this instantly becomes a position of need.
These are two prospects that would fit seamlessly into this defense.
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
I really like T.J. McDonald as a prospect.
The Cowboys have Gerald Sensabaugh locked up, but he still needs to perform at a higher level. Brodney Pool appears to be a stop gap, Barry Church is entering a critical year and Matt Johnson is only a rookie.
A lot of questions still exist around the long-term prognosis of the safety position and that's why it needs to be scouted.
McDonald is 6'3", has good range and ball skills and has good pedigree from his father, former Cardinals safety Tim McDonald.
You could also make the case for Robert Lester of Alabama, who is another solid prospect.
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
Probably not the quarterback you were expecting, but watch out for this draft-eligible underclassman.
Before getting hurt and also losing his top target in Justin Hunter, Tyler Bray was lighting the college football world on fire as a sophomore.
He's 6'6", has a good feel for the game, possesses a solid arm and will only get better. He probably needs to add mass to his frame for durability.
I may be a bit biased as a Volunteers fan, but if the Cowboys are thinking quarterback of the future, they could afford to sit him behind Tony Romo and Kyle Orton as he develops.
I see Bray as a high-ceiling player.
I know Tyler Wilson might come to mind here or even Landry Jones, but I think Romo has at least three more seasons in Dallas. Wilson or Jones would need to play right away.
Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Although I don't think a starting tackle is a major necessity, I'm not sold on Jermey Parnell, Pat McQuistan or any other backup tackle the Cowboys currently possess.
Doug Free and Tyron Smith are bookend tackles who have flip-flopped sides this year, but Free needs to play better. What if he struggles? What if the lack of depth becomes an area of exposure that ultimately hurts the team?
Ricky Wagner is a gritty, physical tackle who stands 6'6" and comes from an outstanding program.
Adding a tackle like Wagner to the mix would be smart and good timing on management's part because protecting Romo is paramount.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Alex Okafor is a 6'4", 260-pound prospect that brings athleticism and strength to the table.
Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears might suffice for the 2012 season, but it's time start thinking about a player to pair with Tyrone Crawford.
Okafor is a player to keep under close watch.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
With DeMarco Murray entrenched as the starter for years to come, the same is not the case for Felix Jones. Going on the assumption that he is a goner after this season, replacing his speed and home-run ability will become a need.
Kenjon Barner's speed is both hard to ignore and hard to find. Either way, it certainly should have the attention of the Cowboys.
It would be easy to list at least another dozen prospects, but there are so many factors that can affect that.
From a preliminary point of view, these could easily be potential solutions to what appear to be short-term potential needs of the Dallas Cowboys.
While it might be premature to even think about the 2013 draft, the scouts are already planning. In fact, it will be here before you know it.
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