As the Cowboys move further and further into the offseason the biggest portion of their time will be spent on putting together their draft board and focusing on who they should draft. However, what about the draft strategy itself? I believe in one principle or philosophy, best player available (BPA) over needs. It isn’t as black and white as my philosophy would seem to be. You take best player available at a need position or where you fill you could use the help on your team.
What teams don’t need to do is go into a round looking for a specific player/position. If this occurs you end up drafting a player the likes of Christian Ponder or Quincy Carter and we all know how well that worked out. The same can be said of having a need like running back and your guy falling to you. When Steven Jackson fell to the Cowboys it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that he would come to Dallas. However, Jerry thought you could just plug any back in and he traded the selection away and they ended up with Julius Jones. Jones was serviceable but he was no Steven Jackson.
We all know the needs for this team. Defensive line help is needed as well as linebacker, safety, offensive line and possibly receiver help. The biggest unanswered question is what do they do with finding a possible heir to Tony Romo? You could pass up drafting one if Dallas decides that Kyle Orton is to remain on the team for the remainder of his contract that expires after the 2014 season. So where does this team look in the first round?
The school of thought is that you draft someone in the first round who can come in a start right away. So obviously you would think defensive line but that isn’t set in stone. This goes back to my philosophy of not going into any specific round looking for a certain position or player. If Kony Ealy, Ra’Shede Hageman or any other defensive lineman with a top 20 grade are all gone off the board where do they turn? Miles Austin is going to be cut so could they go receiver?
Looking at the depth chart receiver could be a first round target. Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams are locks at the position but I am not sold with Cole Beasley or Dwayne Harris as the third guy. I would look for players like Kelvin Benjamin or Mike Evans should either of them fall. You could place either of them in the number two role with Williams taking over the slot. Or even placing their drafted wide out and Williams on the outsides and letting Dez patrol the slot. This makes them even more dangerous in three wide sets.
Your first three rounds should be starters if you are looking at players to draft. With rounds four through seven being depth and players who you can groom. With that stated look for them to go DE/S, DT/DE, DT/DE, QB/WR, OL, DE, LB, DT as their targets in the upcoming draft.