After releasing DeMarcus Ware, their all-time leading sack leader, the Dallas Cowboys are at a crossroads going into the 2014 NFL season. They have a glaring need at defensive end, but Dallas needs to get an impact player on the edge. Anthony Spencer is still available in free agency, but it is odd that he hasn’t been re-signed yet. Judging by the moves Dallas has made so far this offseason, the Cowboys wanted to get younger. Even after signing Henry Melton, the Cowboys need to improve up front. Holding the 16th overall pick, he is out of their reach, but if Dallas trades up for Jadeveon Clowney, I wouldn’t be upset with that at all.
Yes, Clowney had his problems at college. In 2013, many questioned his work ethic and his motor. At 6’5″, 275 pounds, it’s not too often you see a defensive end with that size running a sub 4.5 40-yard dash. Clowney oozes athletic ability, and it isn’t hard to see why many have pegged him as the best defensive end prospect off all time. J.J. Watt has made a living in the NFL swatting down balls at the line of scrimmage. That is something that Clowney can do. If he can keep his head on straight, Clowney could easily become one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in a matter of games.
Right now, Dallas’ starters at defensive end are George Selvie and Jeremy Mincey. Selvie was a nice surprise last year as he had seven sacks, and was signed midway through training camp. Mincey, on the other hand, was once looked at as a promising player with the Jacksonville Jaguars. About halfway through the 2013 NFL season, the Jaguars cut Mincey because he had a tendency to show up to team meetings late. Selvie is good enough to be a solid starter, but Mincey at this point in his career is a good rotational player at best.
The question remains, what would Dallas have to give up to trade up and select Clowney? Judging on trades in the past, the Cowboys would have to give up their first and second round picks in 2014, and maybe even a second round pick in 2015. Obviously it is a hefty price to pay, but crazier things have happened with Jerry Jones. In 2012, Dallas traded up to snag Morris Claiborne. In the process, they lost their second round pick. That move turned out to bite them in the rear-end because Claiborne hasn’t exceeded expectations and Dallas doesn’t have second round pick from that year. In my opinion, I would be happy with a ton of scenarios in May’s draft. If Dallas traded up and drafted Clowney, I would be happy. If Dallas stayed put and drafted Aaron Donald, I would be happy. If Dallas moved back and picked up an extra middle round pick, I would be happy. This defense needs upgrades at almost every position. Clowney would be a good fit in Dallas in the 4-3. With Rod Marinelli coaching him, Clowney could turn into one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the past two decades.