With round one of the 2012 NFL draft tonight, DallasCowboys101 will play GM and give our opinion on what the ‘Boys need to raise Lombardi in New Orleans.
Since the Cowboys held the lead late in five of their eight losses, let’s start on the defensive side of the ball.
What Cowboys fan can forget the primetime meltdown against the J-E-T-S? Or what about giving up 17 in the fourth quarter to the Lions, or Brady’s TD pass with 22 seconds left, or head coach Jason Garrett freezing his own kicker in the desert, or the G-men putting two TDs on the board in the final 3:40 to overcome a 22-34 deficit.
Yes, it was a frustrating season, a few breaks away from the number two seed, but bad enough to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and finish a blah 8-8.
While most fans and prognosticators point to the secondary as the D’s 2011 weakness, I see it a different way. Coverage is a function of the pass rush. No doubt, Rob Ryan has a stud coming off the edge in DeMarcus Ware. Number 94, Anthony Spencer, and Jason Hatcher accounted for 30 of the Cowboys 42 sacks, with D’Ware putting 19.5 on the board.
While the total ranked 7th in the league, many quarterbacks had success stepping up in the pocket to open space and clean throwing lanes. With Ware, and to a lesser degree Spencer, flying by on the outside, the interior guys should clean up on wayward signal callers. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
In a division with Michael Vick, Eli Manning, who is incredibly adept at finding space in the pocket, and the likely home of RGIII, Rob Ryan needs a stay at home fireplug that demands double-teams, clogs up the middle, collapses the pocket, and frees up the likes of Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.
For us, that guy is Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy or LSU’s Michael Brockers. Cowboys101 prefers Worthy as he could be had in the second round. The MSU product was a four year starter in college and has the skill set to meet the needs we outlined above.
If the front office can add a player like Worthy in round two, then they could spend tonight’s pick on a play making safety. Obviously, the name on everybody’s mock draft is Alabama’s Mark Barron. He’s big, strong, fast enough, and a play-maker that could patrol center field for years.
Hopefully, the Cowboys can shore up the center of their defense with Barron and Worthy with their first two picks. If so, fans should be delighted. With the free agent additions of Brandon Carr, Brodney Pool, and Dan Connor, d-coordinator Rob Ryan will have a faster, deeper, and more talented unit to work with in 2012 than he had in 2011. Perhaps, a defense that adds to leads rather than giving them away late.
Tomorrow we will share our thoughts on tonight’s pick and what it might mean for Friday’s rounds two and three.
Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, Football, Jerel Worthy, Mark Barron, NFL
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