The 2016 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away and still we as fans really have no clue as to which direction the Cowboys may choose to go with each of their nine draft picks. It’s a dilemma that we have to face every year and this year is no exception.
As owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones is very cryptic in his interviews when discussing what draft prospects they may be interested in or what positions they might be targeting.
Head coach Jason Garrett has learned from the master and is no more helpful than Jones. The term “blowing smoke” is usually thrown around this time of year and both Garrett and Jones could hold a clinic about how to master the art.
So, that leaves it up to us, as fans, to try to analyze everything we can with what we have at our disposal.
What we have to do is pay close attention to who the Cowboys are putting through private workouts and what prospects are announced as taking part in the 30 pre-draft visits that are allowed by the league.
Dallas Day is another tool we as fans could use. Unfortunately, due to the geographical nature that the team has to abide by, only local prospects that grew up in the area or played their collegiate careers in the area are allowed to participate. It’s a little more difficult to gauge the Cowboys interest level in these prospects.
These are about the only tools at our disposal that we can use to get any indication of which prospects might have piqued the interest of the Cowboys and also what positions that they may be paying extra close attention to.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to know what prospects might be joining the roster for the 2016 season and I think one of the best ways to figure that out is to determine where the Cowboys need the most help.
Let’s take a look at the Dallas Cowboys current roster and try to get a better understanding of what positions they may be focusing on.
Tony Romo, Kellen Moore, Jameill Showers
Tony Romo is without a doubt the starting QB for the Cowboys and the hope is that he can remain so for several more years.
Unfortunately, due to his recent health issues, the Cowboys are going to turn over every rock in order to improve the backup quarterback position that is currently being held down by Kellen Moore.
Moore seems to have the organizations trust to backup Romo in 2016, but if the Cowboys invest highly in a rookie QB he may become expendable.
Jameill Showers showed something last preseason that might be worth developing, but his best bet to make the team might be through special teams.
The Cowboys will address the position at some point in the draft, but your guess is as good as mine as to when and where.
My pick: Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech (6th round)
Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Lance Dunbar, Rod Smith, Ben Malena
If you look at the Cowboys depth chart at RB, it would seem as if the top three are secure, but I wouldn’t put anything in ink as of yet.
McFadden and Morris are expected to share the majority of caries in 2016, but beyond that everything is up in the air.
Dunbar in particular has proven that he can be a weapon, but due to his injury history and the fact he is still not recovered from a major knee injury means his status with the team is in question. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if he has to miss the first six weeks of the season because he has to start on the physically unable to perform list (PUP).
Both Smith and Malena are long shots to make the team, especially since the Cowboys are almost definitely going to draft a RB at some point.
I expect McFadden, Morris, and a rookie RB to be the top three running backs to start season in 2016.
My pick: Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech (3rd round)
Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Devin Street, Lucky Whitehead, Vince Mayle, Rodney Smith
Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley are the only WRs that should feel as if their roster spots are secure.
Street has shown virtually nothing that should guarantee that he should stick around and Whitehead is limited to what he can do offensively because of his size.
The Cowboys have shown an interest in upgrading the position after the overall poor play in 2015 and I suspect they will address it at some point in the draft.
My pick: Michael Thomas, Ohio State (2nd round)
Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim, Gavin Escobar
No one is unseating Witten, but if he does have to miss time due to an injury there is virtually no one else on the roster to step up and fill that role.
Hanna was brought back to the team because of his blocking capabilities, but he’s not really a receiving threat.
Swaim didn’t have much of a role in his rookie season and is an unknown at this point, while Escobar will be lucky to suit up for the Cowboys ever again.
I can see the Cowboys adding another tight end in the middle rounds to groom as Witten’s replacement.
My pick: Nick Vannett, Ohio State (4th round)
Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Chaz Green, Charles Brown, Justin Renfrow
Tyron Smith and Doug Free return for 2016 to be the bookends of the Cowboys talented offensive line.
The Cowboys hope that Chaz Green can push Free for the starting right tackle position, but if nothing else he could end up being the swing tackle.
Brown was the swing tackle in 2015 and will more than likely have to beat out Green to earn a roster spot. The same can be probably be said for Renfrow.
The Cowboys seem set at this position so I don’t think they will use a draft pick to add depth, unless someone falls in the draft and it is to good of a deal to pass up.
Zack Martin, La’el Collins, Ronald Leary, Jared Smith
Martin and Collins are the starting offensive guards, and I don’t see any reason why that will change.
Leary provides valuable depth at either guard position, but the Cowboys could look to trade him if there is a team that’s interested in obtaining his services.
The Cowboys would probably prefer someone more versatile than Leary that could play both center and guard.
My pick: Joe Thuney, NC State (6th round)
Travis Frederick, Joe Looney
Travis Frederick is the unquestioned starter for the Cowboys young talented offensive line, but the depth behind him really leaves him as the only valuable option to play the position.
The Cowboys tried to address the backup center position by signing Joe Looney in the off-season. Looney can play both center and guard, but Dallas may decide to try to find a better prospect through the draft.
My pick: Joe Thuney, NC State (6th round)
*Thuney played every position along the offensive line at NC State, hence the repeat pick.
Well, there you have it.
Based on the Cowboys depth chart breakdown you can see for yourself what positions the team may be more focused on than others and how they could possibly address the position through the draft.
Please feel free to leave your own personal thoughts and opinions in the comments section below so we can discuss this topic further.