By Bradford Harrison at April 23, 2012 | 9:00 am | Print
Photos courtesy of the Birmingham News/Mark Almond, tigernet, and Miami of Ohio Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter: @PlaymakerOnline
Where they’ve been: In 2011, the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t be stopped…on offense at least. The defensive side of the ball was another story though, and the secondary limped to a 23rd-ranked pass defense campaign, en route to an 8-8 season. this may be the last year of “patience” Cowboy’s fans give quarterback Tony Romo, so owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett will be looking to add some pieces to solve the Cowboys’ recent playoff puzzles.
Where they’re going:
The secondary must be addressed first if they are to have any chance at competing for a NFC crown. The league is much too pass-heavy for Dallas to have a sub-par secondary. However, there are also serious needs in the front-seven of the defense and in the interior line. Dallas will have it tough this year in a division with the Super Bowl champs (New York), and loaded Eagles team, and a game changer in Robert Griffin III coming to D.C., but if the defense can even get to “bend, not break” mode, the offense can put up enough points to win on a regular basis.
1st round Pick (14th pick) mark Barron, DB, Alabama:
This pick may be tough to land but Barron is the Cowboys’ dream choice, but when you look at the numbers, Barron is the best d-back in the mid-first round. A three-year starter with great instincts for interceptions and big hits? They’ve needed help at the position for years and Jerry Jones is reportedly in love with the Alabama product. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Dallas trade up to make sure it gets Barron, perhaps with Kansas City at the eleventh spot. The Cowboys have no big-time players in this area, and Barron would immediately boost a unit that’s needed a leader at safety since Darren Woodson left years ago.
2nd round Pick (45th pick) Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson:
Andre Branch has been shooting up draft boards lately, but he could go as high as mid first round, or last as long as late round two, but regardless, the Cowboys need to find someone here that fit’s Branch’s mold. at 6′ 5″, 260 pounds, big and fast, Branch is the perfect player to pair opposite Demarcus Ware. The team notched 42 sacks last year (good for seventh in the league), but with almost half coming from Ware, (19.5) the team has to find sack production from somewhere else to take the pressure off one of the leagues best pass rushers.
3rd round Pick (81st pick) Brandon Brooks, G, Miami of Ohio:
The interior of Dallas’ line has been in flux for almost two years now, and the parade of free-agent pickups have failed the Cowboys thus far. They need a right guard, so why not target one of the best in round three Brandon Brooks? at 6’5′ and 343 pounds, Brooks in massive, an absolute terror at run blocking, and get this Cowboy fans, he was penalized only eight times in 1,727 offensive snaps. A mistake-free line (and offense) is what you need to get to the next level, and four-year college starter Brooks give them that.