2010 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Team Needs
The Dallas Cowboys are fresh off of winning their second NFC East division title in the past three years. They're loaded with talent and just got the "monkey off their back" by finally getting a postseason win.
But that 34-3 mud hole stomping delivered by the Minnesota Vikings still stings a bit.
Enough for, say, a talented team to realize that there are holes to be filled, upgrades to be had, and potential trades to be made.
But trades are for another day. Read on as we take a look at the major needs that can (and should) be addressed by Wade Phillips and co. this coming April:
Pressing Needs: OT, WR, K, KR/PR
Regardless of some fans calling for the head of Tony Romo or wondering what lies next for the three-headed horse that is the Dallas running back corps, there are no major qualms at quarterback or running back.
Jason Witten solidifies the tight end spot, while Martellus Bennett still has enough potential to keep the Cowboys from drafting another.
The only true "issue" is the Cowboys' offensive line, as we saw Tony Romo get weed-whacked by the Minnesota Vikings' defensive line in the second round of the playoffs.
Granted, Minnesota led the league in sacks in 2009, but that kind of shoddy protection needs to stop. Targeting a brute tackle like Trent Williams or Bruce Campbell is a real possibility, and it would help shore up a line that isn't in need of dire repair, but could use some youth and depth.
However, both of these particular tackles could be gone by the time Dallas picks at the 27th spot, which could prompt them to hold off on their offensive line until the second and third rounds.
If they wait, their next area of concern (on offense, at least), would be grabbing a wide receiver who can complement Miles Austin. Patrick Crayton is almost certainly a slot receiver (at best), while Roy Williams still hasn't established himself as an effective (or worthy) number two receiver in Jason Garrett's offense.
Adding a possession receiver like Minnesota's Eric Decker would be a great fit, although quite a reach in the first round. Golden Tate should be available as well, and would probably make the most sense, as he can play a number of roles, and has the speed and play-making ability to make magic happen with the ball in his hands.
Outside of the first round, however, Dallas will definitely turn its focus on making sure their line is good enough to compete with stout defenses, especially within their own division, while also finding an elite return man (probably in the later rounds), or grabbing a receiver who is a dual threat.
If they plan on trading Tashard Choice and/or Marion Barber, they could even opt for another running back, and grabbing Stanford's Toby Gerhart in the second round would be an absolute steal.
Choice and Barber have both been in trade rumors, and while it's no sure thing they'll be leaving, giving Felix Jones more carries and adding Gerhart as a blocker and short yardage runner would arguably make their running back corps much more well-rounded.
Lastly, Dallas has had some tough learning experiences with kickers over the years, and hasn't been able to find a guy that can consistently hit the long ball, or even field above-average accuracy from an overall stand-point.
There's still the option of landing free agents Shayne Graham or Jay Feely, but there's a decent chance they pick up a kicker in the later rounds to add competition to the position.
Pressing Needs: ILB, DE, DT, OLB
Dallas had one of the better pass-rushing groups as the season wore on, and it definitely showed in their three meetings with the Philadelphia Eagles, especially the last contest in the playoffs.
They're set (for now) at corner, and probably don't need an immediate add on the outside at linebacker, but the middle of their line-backing corps could use some focus.
Keith Brooking is still an elite tackler and tremendous leader, but the older he gets, the more obvious it will be that Dallas needs help on the inside. The hope is that Brooking isn't a one-year wonder like Zach Thomas was a couple of years ago, but even if he remains playing at a high level, they need to look to the future.
Other areas of concern, or at least areas that could use an upgrade, are the middle of the defensive line, and safety.
The Cowboys really haven't been completely comfortable at safety ever since Roy Williams left, and even when he was there, there were tons of problems in pass coverage.
They could grab Earl Thomas to shore up the secondary with their first pick, or opt for the defensive line and grab a guy like Dan Williams, Jared Odrick, or Brian Price.
Overall, they're a team filled with talent that needs to do a slight remodeling to ensure they'll be back in the division hunt.
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