One game remains in the 2012 NFL regular season for the Dallas Cowboys. Yet, even before that “win and you’re in” playoff scenario waiting in Washington Sunday night, Dallas has a really good idea of where it needs to go in the offseason.
The Cowboys are nothing but an average team that is spiked with a few outstanding players—that number slowly growing in recent years. But for too long, Dallas was thought to be just a player or two away from actually reaching the Super Bowl, and reality has shown that this was never the case.
The Cowboys could be a really good football team as soon as next season, but the NFL draft is where most of the key reinforcements will come from. With little in the way of free-agent dollars to spend and hopefully continuing a trend of drafting well on the first couple of days, the Cowboys are in position to fill some needs, not so much at certain positions, but where more good football players are concerned.
Much depends on the future status of outside linebacker Anthony Spencer who’s in the final year of his contract and could potentially leave a huge hole at outside linebacker.
The following players will garner tremendous interest from both the Cowboys and the NFL in the draft next April. I’m listing these players, assuming that Spencer will not return, even though I fully expect him back. I don’t see how owner and general manager Jerry Jones sells another season to the Dallas fanbase with Jason Garrett as head coach but without Spencer.
Offensive linemen, pass-rushers and maybe even safety are all positions that should warrant strong consideration if the right player is there, but there could also be some surprises, too.
These players are in no particular order, and I’m listing prospects that the Cowboys are likely to have the opportunity to draft based on where they are likely to land in the first round. So, when you don’t see a player like Luke Joeckel mocked to Dallas, it’s because he is long gone before the Cowboys hit the clock.
Underclassmen decisions are not factored in as well.