Now that the 2012 NFL Regular Season is in the books, it’s time to get an early look at the 2013 NFL Draft prospectus for each of the 20 NFL teams who now know their draft position in the first round. We continue with the Dallas Cowboys at #18 overall.
“America’s Team” was in the hunt for the NFC East title until the final minutes of the regular season, but fell out of the playoffs completely after losing to Washington in Week 17. Dallas definitely looked like a playoff team at times this season, but there are plenty of holes to fill on a team riddled with inconsistent play, even from its best players. From Tony Romo’s hot/cold streaks, to Dez Bryant’s dazzling catch to bonehead drop tendencies, even the ‘Boys strengths were there weaknesses at certain points throughout the season.
There are two holes on this team that cry out for immediate help, however. Last year, the Cowboys were slated to pick 14th and were pegged by most to take Alabama S Mark Barron, as he was the perfect balance of overall talent and desperate position of need. The Cowboys fueled that fire even further by trading up to the #6 pick, but chose to draft LSU CB Morris Claiborne instead. The need at safety is still just as gaping, so it’s no surprise that the top prospect available at the position this year, Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, is the popular mock pick for Dallas at #18. Vaccaro doesn’t have the star power or swagger of Barron, but he’s a more balanced player who can play either strong or free safety, and who is just as comfortable in coverage as he is in the box defending the run.
The other big need for Dallas is along the interior offensive line, particularly at guard. Alabama’s Chance Warmack will more than likely be off the board by the time they pick, and it might still be a bit early at that point for the Cowboys to make North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper their selection. If Warmack and Vaccaro are both off the board somehow, it would make plenty of sense for Jerry Jones to trade back and look to grab Cooper later in the first round. Jones has proven that he’s not afraid to move up to get his man, or move down if he’s not enamored with any particular prospect at his given slot, so definitely look for the possibility of the ‘Boys moving in one direction or another in order for them to acquire their intended target.