This started out as a mock draft and grew, so I decided to post it here instead of the Draft Zone. The first quarter of the season is gone. Dallas is 2-2, and as Bill Parcells says, "You are what your record says you are." For sure, the Cowboys are an NFL football team with two wins and two losses. Hard to argue that. But that's not quite the end of it for me. In my mind, getting dominated and blown out is a lot different than outplaying your opponent and losing because you make a couple of dumb mistakes. Sometimes you get beat. Sometimes you lose. And in my opinion, no team has beaten the Dallas Cowboys so far in 2011 but the Cowboys themselves. Point is, after four games, Dallas is a .500 team, but just because the team is .500 now doesn't mean it has to stay that way. I think we've seen a whole lot to be hopeful about and plenty of reasons to believe that things are about to get really interesting. • The most obvious is health. The team has been nicked and hobbled since training camp. Newman has played one game. Austin, Bryant, Scandrick and Hatcher have all missed significant time, and scads of others have been playing hurt. But the bye is here, and what perfect timing. Players are resting, healing up, and on Sunday, the team will be in Foxboro at near 100% with Red, Rowdy Rob and their boys coming off two weeks of preparation. • Youth. The roster contains 10 rookies and nine second year players. That's 36%, and we're not just talking about a bunch of practice players. Tyron Smith, Costa, Nagy, Lee, Bailey, Brent, Bryant, Holley, Albright, Harris, Church and McCray have all made significant contributions on game day, whether on special teams or offense/defense. The guy that no one saw coming, though, is Sean Lissemore. This former sprinter from the College of William & Mary is having a heck of a season at DE, stuffing runs and pushing the pocket. He makes drafting a DE in 2012 a non-necessity. • The offensive line isn't perfect, but the guys are young and playing very well, all things considered. What is certain is Tyron Smith's trajectory. We knew he was a physical freak. We figured he'd be a Pro Bowl-type player with a little experience and some time in Woicik's weight room. But what no one guessed is that after four games he'd be the Cowboys' best offensive linemen, and one of the best RT in the league. He'll move to the left side next year and let Free play the position where he excelled in 2009. Overall, I think we need to consider the effect of the Detroit defensive line last night against Chicago and compare it to last week. Did Suh even play in Dallas? • The defense: I'd hoped that Ryan would do something with the talent on this team. I knew he'd done more with less in the past and guessed that the Dallas D would improve some simply through the unpredictability Ryan would bring. We all knew blitzing and pressuring the QB was his thing, but who expected our team to lead the league in stopping the run? Through four games, Ryan is doing what he's always done, getting the most out of his players and turning out a defense more than good enough to win any game. Guys like Lissemore and Sensebaugh are having an impact, Hatcher is playing the best ball of his career and Lee has become a monster--not to mention Jenkins' return to form. And this has all happened with the team playing with less than a full deck. The cool thing is, the players are still learning Ryan's playbook. This defense is going to get BETTER, and I think by mid-November will be a dominant force. • Jason Garrett is running the team. He's gotten rid of dead weight and instituted a system of accountability at Valley Ranch. The best players play, end of story, and if you don't work hard, play hard and embrace Garrett's philosophy of improvement through attention to detail, you can go play football somewhere else. The most encouraging thing to me is that, a letdown with a 24-point lead aside, these guys play hard, whistle to whistle, and that's not something we've been able to say about the Cowboys for a good while. • Bottom line: the Cowboys have beaten two current division leaders, dominated a third to a 24-point lead and had the Jets dead to rights with seven minutes left--on the road, on opening Sunday night, the tenth anniversary of 9/11. And while there are no moral victories in a 16 game NFL season, I believe you have to actually look at the games to see the whole picture. The fact is, Dallas has outplayed every team they've faced and given two of those games away, plain and simple. Those losses count, sure, but I think what the game play says about the Cowboys is very important, and what it says is that this team is very good, in all phases. And it's only going to get better. Come January, I truly believe that the Dallas Cowboys will be the team nobody wants to play. The offseason... First, we must resign Sensebaugh, Elam, Spencer and McBriar. The team has the cap space to do it. Get 'er done. Spencer is playing extremely well, as is Sensebaugh. Elam is steady. We need the two safeties to hold the fort for one more year. McBriar is, well, McBriar. We'll lose Newman, Choice, probably Ball and Bennett. This all makes corner the team's greatest need, followed by interior OL, DL, FB, safety, OLB and TE. Butler has really been a disappointment. In my opinion, no single position group has a greater affect on a football game than the OL. The big guys make everyone better, from the QB, the RBs and the receivers to the entire defense. A dominant OL allows a quarterback to go through all his reads, step up and make his best throw. It opens up the entire playbook to the offense in any situation, allows it to control the clock and score touchdowns in the red zone. It wears down opposing defenses, keeps its own defense off the field and fresh, and puts games away in the fourth quarter. In my estimation, THIS is what the Dallas Cowboys need. So, the draft... (a nod to The Realist) 1. Peter Konz (C), 6-5 315, Wisconsin This guy is a big, athletic mauler who can handle nose tackles one on one. He's a monster in the running game and terrific in pass protection. He moves well in space and pulls very well. He's just an absolute stud at the center position who's ready to start in the NFL right now. 2. Casey Hayward (CB), 5-11 190, Vanderbilt He's a great cover corner with superb ball skills, who will also stick his head in and inflict a hit. He has four picks through four games against big boy competition. I like Minnifield and Boykin, too. 3. Kevin Zeitler (OG), 6-4 312, Wisconsin This guy is the guard I really want and I think we'll probably have to trade up a bit to get him. I could go on about him, but it's just easier to say he's Peter Konz playing guard. These two guys have been blowing holes open in a pro-style running attack as well as anyone in the country. 4. Kyle Wilber (OLB), 6-5 240, Wake Forest Big kid with good speed and great smarts. Playing OLB in a 3-4 defense, Wilbur has two sacks, 3.5 TFL and two forced fumbles. That's through four games. Last year he totaled 6 and 14.5.