Dallas draft breakdown
Torrin Tucker is a powerful run blocker who flashes the ability to dominate the point of attack, but he lacks the athletic ability to hold his own in pass coverage and shouldn't be an every-down player. In fact, Dallas selected Jacob Rogers in the second round of last year's draft in an effort to replace Tucker as the starter opposite Flozell Adams.
The problem is Rogers failed to progress as expected, so Tucker started 13 games. Although Kurt Vollers provides some depth, he isn't dominant in any one area. Expect the Cowboys to sign or draft a tackle who will push Rogers as well as Tucker for playing time.
Florida State's Alex Barron and Oklahoma's Jammal Brown possess a good blend of bulk, power and athletic ability. Dallas may move Adams to the right side and Rogers to the left side, as Rogers may be a better fit on the left side. As a result, the Cowboys can take the best available tackle and then shift the personnel to get their best offensive linemen on the field.
EllisAlthough Greg Ellis returns on the right side, LDE Marcellus Wiley failed to make a significant impact last year and Dallas released him. Eric Ogbogu progressed as a pass rusher last year, but he lacks the power to hold his ground against the run and may never develop into an every-down player.
Kevin DeRonde hasn't appeared in a game since he signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2002. Dallas is expected to run more 3-4 schemes this year, so it needs an end who can hold his ground in a two-gap scheme.
USC's Shaun Cody and Vanderbilt's Jovan Haye are projected early-round picks who have the strength to anchor at the point of attack and shows good quickness when rushing the passer.
Dexter Coakley has signed with St. Louis and 2003 fourth-round pick Bradie James may not be ready to replace him. James possesses good range and is relentless in pursuit, but he lacks ideal recognition skills and gets caught out of position at times.
Look for the Cowboys to use a first-day pick on a linebacker who can push James for playing time and step in should he struggle. With Dallas recording just 32 sacks last year and running more 3-4 schemes, adding an outside linebacker who has the burst and closing speed to effectively rush the passer will be the priority. Tennessee's Kevin Burnett and Southern Miss' Michael Boley fit this description.
DavisFive-time Pro Bowler Darren Woodson has retired and Roy Williams will move from free to strong safety to replace, him but who will start opposite Williams is unclear. Although Keith Davis plays with a mean streak and provides adequate depth, he lacks the speed to cover the deep half of the field and shouldn't be an every-down player.
Look for Dallas to use a middle-round pick on a safety who can push Davis for playing time while improving depth as a result.
The Cowboys signed Anthony Henry, who will start opposite 2003 first-round pick Terrance Newman, but depth remains an issue. Pete Hunter and 2004 fourth-round pick Bruce Thornton are both coming off season-ending knee injuries.
Their injuries forced Jacques Reeves and Lance Frazier to play significant roles last year, and they struggled. Expect Dallas to add a corner with the cover skills to compete for the nickel back role.
MorganQuincy Morgan returns as the starter on one side. Keyshawn Johnson turns 33 and Terry Glenn turns 31 this summer, so the Cowboys would be wise to start grooming possible replacements.
Dallas needs a receiver who will improve depth and push for playing time in its multiple-receiver sets.
Dallas signed Marco Rivera, who's expected to start on the right side if he's healthy. However, he has undergone back surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back. While 2002 second-round pick Andre Gurode has good starting experience and can step in should Rivera miss any time, he doesn't appear to be the long-term solution here. In fact, the Cowboys signed Rivera to replace him.
It's also important to note that Larry Allen is 33 and on the downside of his career. The Cowboys need to start grooming a possible replacement. Considering Allen's age and the durability concerns surrounding Rivera, Dallas would be wise to use a late-round pick on a guard.
JonesJulius Jones, a second-round pick in 2004, should be the starter for years to come, but he missed eight games with injuries last year and Eddie George is an unrestricted free agent who won't be back.
Although ReShard Lee, Erik Bickerstaff and Woodrow Dantzler provide adequate depth, none is ready to assume the backup role. Look for the Cowboys to draft a back in the middle rounds or sign one consequently.
Dallas signed Drew Bledsoe to replace Vinny Testaverde, an unrestricted free agent who isn't expected to return. With questions surrounding Drew Henson's readiness to step into the backup role, look for the Cowboys to sign or draft a quarterback capable of competing with him for that job
I had an apartment and I had a neighbor, and whenever he would knock on my wall I knew he wanted me to turn my music down and that made me angry 'cause I like loud music... so when he knocked on the wall, I'd mess with his head. I'd say, "Go around! I cannot open the wall! I dunno if you have a doorknob on your side but over here there's nothin'. It's just flat."
Mitch Hedberg RIP