Most of the offseason, it seems everywhere we looked, we saw the Cowboys going defense in the 2014 NFL Draft. Multiple sources within the team have confirmed as much. I haven’t heard this much agreement and general conformity in “leaks” since…ever.
Then suddenly speculation in the past week focused on Texas A&M QB, Johnny Manziel as the Cowboys’ top target. That sounds like a pretty convenient smoke screen right before the draft, doesn’t it?
Every year information comes out about who the Cowboys are targeting, what they are going to do with their top pick, who they want, and who they don’t want. It’s usually a convoluted mix bag of rumors. Some are real but most are fake. The Cowboys always seem to send out fake information leading up to the draft. Who can blame them? It’s smart business to hold your cards close to the vest and mislead the competition.
What’s strange is almost every actual source seems to be focusing on D-line and Manziel. Given the financial commitment to Romo I can’t even entertain the Manziel pick as a realistic possibility. But the D-is a different story.
The Cowboys have epic needs on the D-Line. Newly signed Henry Melton is the only clear starter and even he is recovering from a major injury. The rest of the D-line is made up of glorified rotation players, unproven talent, and a former OLB. No wonder those inside Valley Ranch are all saying nothing but defensive line. But I can’t help but be suspicious at the uniformity of the message.
What if the Cowboys are really targeting someone else? What if the Cowboys are targeting Offensive Tackle Zack Martin?
Zack Martin was recently named by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock as the safest pick in the draft. He has the ability to successfully play all 5 positions on the offensive line. His draft stock is soaring as we speak. Never mind that offensive line is now a hot commodity on draft day. Offensive linemen have one of the lowest 1st round bust rates in the NFL. They are often a smart and safe pick.
In yesterday’s 7 round mock draft, the simulator had 5 OTs off the board by the time the Cowboys even went on the clock. That’s a pretty significant run. In what I always refer to as The Annual Run on Offensive Linemen, the Cowboys may consider themselves lucky to have a shot at a player like Zack Martin.
Obviously drafting someone like Martin would require the certain top players to be off the board. At this point it’s pretty obvious Clowney, Mack, Donald, Robinson, Matthews, Watkins, will all be gone. There is also a very good chance Lewan, Barr, Gilbert, Dennard, Evans, and Clinton-Dix will be gone. 1-3 QBs could also be gone but I don’t think they will ever be considered by the Cowboys on draft day.
The Cowboys face the very realistic possibility of having to choose from a disturbingly shallow poor of defensive players. If they want defense they may have reach on a player or trade back to get appropriate value for who they select. Martin may be the man in the perfect position for the Cowboys.
Martin fills obvious needs too. He can’t play defensive line but he can be a day 1 starter in place of Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard. When Doug Free departs the Cowboys in 2015, Martin can smoothly transition to RT. He fills a need in the short term and the long term. That’s why he makes so much sense and why may be the Cowboys’ target all along.
For this to happen the Cowboys will have to admit what most of us came to grips with months ago – this team will need more than 1 season to become a contender again. There are just too many holes to fill in one offseason. The question is, does Jerry Jones know and admit this or is he still trying to fix everything at once…
How would you feel if, with most of the top players off the board, the Cowboys went offensive line in round 1? Would you support the pick or would you rather they trade back, collect an extra pick and address defense? Either one could happen on Thursday night.
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