The 2013 NFL draft is the most important draft the Cowboys have faced in a long while.
This isn’t about picking the right talent, it’s about defining the identity of the Dallas Cowboys as a winning franchise.
The Cowboys could own a range of picks in the middle portion of the first round. One thing remains consistent, though: This pick has to count.
Let’s take a peak at the Cowboys' top first-round prospects.
In Montgomery, the Cowboys would grab their pass rusher of the future. Montgomery has good size at 6’4”, 245 pounds. He is still considered one of the elite players in this game.
Montgomery is an explosive, raw talent whose skills could translate successfully to the next level. He is an above-average edge rusher in 3-4 schemes and has great agility to go with his speed.
One weakness in Montgomery’s game is that he could improve his pass rush repertoire. I would like to see an improved bull rush if he intends to be elite at the next level. This is a skill that could be improved with the help of one of the best pass rushers to ever play the game, DeMarcus Ware.
I think that Montgomery would be the riskiest pick the Cowboys could make, but his ceiling is extremely high. With Anthony Spencer possibly leaving the team at the end of the season, Montgomery would offer a seamless transition for this defense that has finally found itself.
Chance Warmack is a prospect that was once underrated but has become a buzzing prospect over the last month or so.
There is a ton to love about this prospect.
Warmack is a nasty football player. He is a tough run blocker and a very capable pass blocker. He possesses a ton of power and excellent technique. If you get to watch some tape on Warmack, watch his athleticism. Warmack is a very dynamic guard who can pull and get to the next level effectively.
Warmack would instantly anchor the interior line, especially in the rush game.
The Cowboys would immediately benefit from having Warmack. Garrett, who will likely be around next season, would like to feature a run-balanced offense. With Warmack, Garrett’s offense would flourish.
There is one move this offseason that would make Jenkins an automatic. That move is if the Cowboys intend to cut ties with Jay Ratliff and still maintain the 3-4.
The 6’3”, 358-pound nose tackle is a tremendous athlete who moves around like a defensive end. Jenkins is strong off the line and has an exceptionally high motor. Jenkins offers something that you don’t find much in a large nose tackle as pass rusher who is still very dynamic against the run.
Jenkins isn’t perfect, however. He needs to work extensively on his consistency. He is a very good player and seems to have a solid work ethic. I’ve watched pretty much every UGA game this year and have seen Jenkins disappear with some double teams. In a 3-4 defense in the NFL, Jenkins would see double teams often and needs to be able to free himself of those and be an impact player.
The Cowboys could use Jenkins if they let Ratliff go. Ratliff would allow the Cowboys some added cap space. This pick is a very real possibility.
Talk about a climbing prospect.
I originally had Dion Jordan as an early third-round prospect, and now he is a mid-first-round talent.
Jordan stands 6’7” and weighs 243 pounds. In case you’ve been living in a cave, Jordan has exceptional size for an NFL linebacker. What I’ve seen from Jordan is incredible. He has a violent attack against blockers and an extremely high motor. I would venture to say that Dion Jordan is the best pure pass rusher in the draft.
Now, Jordan is just an average run defender and could struggle if targeted by strong run games. That doesn’t mean that Jordan will fail at the next level. Jordan is athletic and smart, a good combination. He takes good angles and is above average in pursuit.
I’d be excited to see Jordan at the next level. He can be a dynamic prospect who, if coached correctly, can use his size to be a force in coverage and at the line. Jordan would be a project, but he could become an elite pass rusher for the Cowboys.
OK, the Cowboys haven’t had a franchise safety since Darren Woodson, and it’s starting to get a little frustrating. I mean no disrespect towards Gerald Sensabaugh, who’s been great, or Barry Church, but the Cowboys need a true back-end center fielder.
Reid is a prospect who is dropping from his initial high first-round pick but has franchise player ability.
Reid is a playmaker. He possesses excellent range and leadership. Reid is both an above-average pass defender and run-support safety. What you have to love about Reid is dynamic playmaking ability coupled with his scheme versatility.
If the Cowboys selected Reid, it would likely mean that they traded down and added an additional second or third pick. If that’s the case, they landed a premiere safety while still affording them the ability to land another solid offensive lineman like Jonathan Cooper or Cyril Richardson.