The Dallas Cowboys have a few needs if they want to make another deep playoff run, and possibly a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy next season. Luckily, their needs could possibly be met in the upcoming NFL Draft.
It’s an early headline, but Dallas has a chance to fill their roster with a couple rookies who could make a direct impact on the field next season. Of those rookies who made a statement to declare for the draft, many are defensive linemen. A particular area Dallas desperately needs to improve upon.
We are 100 days out from the 2015 NFL Draft, which was moved from its original location, Radio City Music Hall (New York City, New York), to the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Ill., set as a three-day event through April 30-May 2.
Dallas will not receive a draft pick in the sixth round, but they will receive three draft picks in the seventh round from their trades between the San Diego Chargers (received Sean Lisssemore from Dallas for their seventh-round pick), the Baltimore Ravens (received Dallas’ seventh-round pick for linebacker Rolando McClain) and the Indianapolis Colts (traded their selection for Caesar Rayford). Dallas also made a trade for Tennessee Titans defensive end Lavar Edwards on the condition he was on the roster for ten games. He did not and was waived from Dallas’ practice squad last season.
With eight total picks in the draft, as of now, pending on trades from other teams, Dallas’ front office will most likely draft a defensive tackle who can rush the interior of an opponent’s offensive line.
The past five years, Jerry Jones selected four All-Pro players in Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and last year’s first-round pick, Zack Martin. The young guard was the only rookie in the league selected as a first-team All-Pro. He joins Baltimore Ravens veteran, Michael Yanda.
It’s time to select a defensive lineman in the first round to gain some inside pressure.
Dallas’ second-round pick in last year’s draft was DeMarcus Lawrence, a defensive end out of Boise State. After injuring his right foot in training camp, he recorded his first sack since his days on the smurf turf against the Detroit Lions. Lawrence finally came into his own toward the end of the year, and if he stays healthy, he’ll get the experience he’ll need to fill the shoes of the man he was asked to replace, DeMarcus Ware.
Among the top prospects in multiple mock drafts there are two interior pass rushers who can help Dallas get to the quarterback more often. With the 27th pick in the draft, these two are the most reasonable picks Dallas could make.
Michael Bennett, a member of this year’s National Championship team, Ohio State, didn’t play well the first two months of his last season in the scarlet and gray; but when he was asked to step his game up down the stretch of his senior season, he did not disappoint.
His turning point came against Big 10 East Division rival, Michigan State. Led by signal caller Connor Cook, the Spartans saw a lot of No. 63 in their midst. Bennett recorded four solo tackles, including a sack on Cook. From then on, Bennett recorded five sacks, 17 solo tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
Bennett was also a part of Ohio State’s 59-0 clobbering of Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. He recorded five total tackles, two of which were sacks, a season-high for the young star. At 6’2 288, Bennett is a gap-shooter who causes disruption within the backfield immediately.
Dallas’ defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would salivate from his mouth with this kind of talent wreaking havoc in opposing backfields.
A late sleeper Jerry and company could steal in the draft could be Clemson’s durable defensive tackle, Grady Jarrett.
Jarrett was a three-year starter for the Tigers, recording 173 tackles, 17. 5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
Clemson’s defensive coaches praised him for his endurance, speed off the ball and intelligence within the interior of the line. What surprises most is his relationship with a future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. He called him ‘Uncle Ray.’
“Ray Lewis has been with me since I was five years old,” Jarrett said in an interview with TigerNet.com Senior Writer, David Hood.
The devoted tackle spent his summer workouts with Lewis.
“I’ve worked out with him over the past couple of summers, and there aren’t any secrets. He just tells me how to get the most out of my body, how to push it to the max, and just push past everything. He has been a part of my family for a really long time.”
If he has the motivation and drive to play as well and as long as Ray Lewis did, he’ll be an asset Dallas could use for a long time.
Dallas’ needs, if Mr. Jones and his staff choose wisely, could be fulfilled with these young and imperishable players.