Dallas Cowboys: 5 Bold Predictions for 2014 NFL Draft
Here, I will explore the unconventional routes owner Jerry Jones could take to bolster his roster.
Most mock drafts have the Cowboys focusing on defense, at least in the early rounds. Dallas needs to upgrade its defensive line and could also be in the market for a safety and linebacker.
On offense, things are a little more unclear. It appears the team will take a wide receiver at some point, but that’s the only position that seems definite.
With that said, let’s examine five bold directions the Cowboys can take in this draft.
Draft Defense First 5 Rounds
Although this may not seem like a very bold prediction, it’s one many Cowboy fans would be surprised to see. Not because of who they’ll be drafting, but because it will show that Jones actually knows where he needs to upgrade his team.
The defense was dreadful in 2013 and using its first five picks on that side of the ball would be highly beneficial for everyone. Dallas finished last in the NFL last year in total defense by giving up more than 415 yards per game.
First and foremost, the Cowboys absolutely need to address the defensive line. They need to take at least one defensive end and tackle early with the idea that these prospects will start immediately, such is the dismal state of Dallas' defensive front.
Besides strengthening their personnel in the trenches, the Cowboys could be looking to take a free safety to solidify their secondary. And with depth being an issue, a linebacker would help too.
So, although it’s not likely, choosing a defender in each of the first five rounds is something the Cowboys need to do to build a foundation on that side of the ball.
Select Wide Receiver in Round 1
Another route the Cowboys could take would be one where Jones surprises everyone. Depending on who’s available, Dallas could draft a wide receiver with the No. 16 pick.
As stated, Dallas should be taking a receiver somewhere in the draft, but taking one with its first-round selection would come as a shock to most.
If players like Mike Evans, Marqise Lee or Kelvin Benjamin are still there, don’t be too surprised if the Cowboys pull the trigger, as these are prospects who could really help Tony Romo and the offense.
Don’t Draft a Safety
My next bold prediction is that the Cowboys won’t draft a safety anywhere in the draft. Even though there are mocks that have Dallas going with Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Louisville’s Calvin Pryor in Round 1, it’s quite possible the team doesn’t address the position at all in this draft.
Bypassing a safety would reinforce the notion that the front office has faith in the players currently holding down that position.
Right now J.J. Wilcox, Matt Johnson and Jeff Heath would be vying for the spot opposite free safety Barry Church. Although none have shown to be spectacular, some of them have real potential.
Of the three, Wilcox would have to be the favorite to win the spot. Johnson was a relatively high draft pick, but he hasn’t seen the field since coming into the league. I’m not particularly a fan of these guys being the only options this summer, but Jones and the coaching staff could feel differently.
Draft Johnny Manziel
A completely different option Dallas could take would be to choose the best player available. With that said, if Johnny Manziel fell to No. 16, then the Cowboys would take him.
Now many fans would probably be upset with this idea, but knowing how Jones’ mind works, would it really surprise anyone? Manziel is an absolute game-changer and is projected as first-rounder by nearly everyone.
Romo just turned 34 years old and his time in the NFL is expiring quickly. He should certainly be the starting quarterback on this team, but only if he can remain healthy.
With two back surgeries to his name, Romo should be prepared for Dallas to be eyeing his long-term replacement in this draft. If Manziel should happen to slip in the first round, the Cowboys would be more than happy to scoop him up.
ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Wednesday that it’s possible the Cowboys would take the quarterback if he fell. Hold onto your seats folks.
Trade Up for Jadeveon Clowney
The last, and most daring, prediction is Dallas trading up to get the most discussed defensive player in the draft: Jadeveon Clowney. Despite the defensive end being projected as a top-five pick, it’s feasible that he isn’t chosen until pick No. 7 or 8.
The Cowboys are known for making moves in the draft due in large part because of Jones’ need to make a splash. If somehow he acquired Clowney, Jones would do just that.
Selecting Clowney would not only create a big headline, but also provide a Pro Bowl-caliber player at an area the Cowboys need most. It’s essential for them to draft a defensive end with intentions of him starting, so why not make it one of the best pass-rushing prospects to come along in many years?
Clowney will most likely be off the board before Dallas has an opportunity to move up, but you never know what can happen.