In Dallas, it seems as though the consensus is to select Prince Amukamara and ignore any other concerns, chalking 2010 up to a fluke. In 2010, the Cowboys certainly underperformed despite a multitude of talented players on the roster.
It is assumed that the secondary was the root of many of Dallas's problems, and the combination of Terrence Newman, Mike Jenkins, Alan Ball, Gerald Sensabaugh and others getting burned a good amount of times made Cowboy fans cringe whenever a quarterback hurled the ball deep.
With a high draft pick as a result of their disappointing record, the Cowboys have many options and can fill one huge need or draft the best player available to supplement their roster.
After finishing 6-10, the organizational brass has a bitter taste in its mouth, and an exciting youngster would help to heal the wounds of last season.
With the ninth pick, there will certainly be players not named Prince Amukamara on the board that would be a justifiable pick for the Cowboys. The Cowboys need help at running back, offensive line, defensive end and in the secondary.
Dallas could use an injection of youth at inside linebacker as well.
Two Smiths could factor in to the direction the Cowboys go. Aldon Smith of Missouri is a highly touted draftee that would come in and provide a stout rusher off the edge, while Tyron Smith is young, projectable tackle from USC that could be an immediate contributor on the Cowboy offensive line.
Mark Ingram probably wouldn't be a fit, as the Cowboys seem content to go with some combination of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice in the backfield in 2011.
As for inside linebacker, there will be plenty of talented middle linebackers left in the second and third rounds for the Cowboys to target such as Greg Jones, Casey Matthews, and others.
The Cowboys could conceivably go with the best player available while filling a need at the ninth pick.
Prince Amukamara is a top defensive back prospect and would make sense on paper for Dallas. Amukamara has fluid hips and seems to run the receivers' routes in straight man-to-man coverage.
With his solid makeup and unquestioned talent, the Cowboys and the Nebraska product seem like a match made in heaven.
The only problem is that the Cowboys can't develop cover cornerbacks.
Cornerbacks who rely on speed and explosiveness have success in Dallas, like Terrence Newman (who masks his lacking coverage skills with good recovery speed, as well as being able to chase down ballcarriers in the open field) and Deion Sanders a while back.
Players like Mike Jenkins, Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh have had trouble succeeding in Dallas, and taking a chance on Prince Amukamara rather than bringing in a veteran corner to supplement Newman is foolish based on past patterns.
Amukamara is talented, no doubt, but for the Cowboys to bridge the gap to a playoff return, they need to minimize the risk and bring in a proven talent to play defensive back.
On the market, many cornerbacks are ready to step in and contribute immediately, pending the collective bargaining agreement's working out.
Antonio Cromartie fits the mold of the successful Cowboy cornerback, and would bring a measure of swagger back to Dallas as well. Cromartie could be a player the Cowboys pursue, as the Jets will have trouble resigning the young defensive back after publicly announcing their desire to keep Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes as Jets in 2011.
Another player who'd make sense, Ike Taylor, has Super Bowl experience and may not be a returning Steeler. The Cowboys need to truly evaluate their options at cornerback rather than hitching their star on Prince Amukamara and closing the book on the issue.
The Cowboys have legitimate problems in the secondary, but if Prince Amukamara is the answer, Jerry Jones may just be asking the wrong questions.