With two games remaining in the regular season, the Cowboys sit amid a three-way tie with the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants. At this point in the season, it is difficult to evaluate the team as an entirety, because of the abnormally large amount of injuries.
Halfway through the season, the Cowboys appeared to have a dire need for interior offensive lineman—and it was reflected by horrible play. Through the past few games of the season, this offensive line has started to "gel" and looks not so replaceable.
With the first-round pick, the Cowboys can be looking at a top-tier interior offensive lineman. Although Chance Warmack is a favorite, I think the Cowboys like versatility on the offensive line more than anything. That is why the Cowboys should take a look at Dallas Thomas, OC/G from Tennessee.
Dallas has played both tackle and guard, and if your offensive line has flexibility and knowledge of other assignments, it makes coping with the inevitable injury that much easier.
Although the Cowboys will have a plethora of safeties returning from injury next year (Barry Church: Achilles, and Matt Johnson: hamstring/back), having a deep, playmaking secondary is something that Rob Ryan would love to have. Safety Kenny Vacarro, of the Texas Longhorns, has been a shining star in an underperforming UT defense.
Vacarro brings a toughness to the defense similar to former Dallas Cowboys great, Darren Woodson.
Vacarro is solid in run support and is fully capable in coverage. What I like about Vacarro is his form tackling. Rarely did I see Vacarro lower his shoulder and try to knock the ball-carrier down—it was always a good-form, wrap-up tackle, leaving almost no room for yards after contact.
The other department the Cowboys lack is a pass rush (although after Sunday night's game against Pittsburgh, Big Ben might have something to say about that). With Ratliff suspect to injury from years of wear and tear as one of the premier nose tackles in the NFL, the Cowboys need a solid backup and/or defensive line rotation.
Shariff Floyd of Florida is a name that pops out to fill the role of Ratliff. Again, an undersized nose tackle who makes up for it with quickness and tenacity. At Florida, Floyd also lined up at defensive end in some schemes, and he gives Rob Ryan yet another piece to an ever-changing puzzle.
If the Cowboys are looking for a more typical two-gap monster-clogger, I would have the Cowboys taking Jonathan Jenkins from Georgia. Just his sheer size (6'4", 360 pounds) would help clog up the middle. But again, I see the Cowboys taking smaller, quicker and more flexible (scheme-wise) defensive lineman.