2011 Draft Picks Prove Dallas Cowboys Preparing for Future, Free Agency

By Jeric Griffin

The Dallas Cowboys’ 2011 draft picks prove the team is rightly preparing for the future. The Cowboys’ second-round pick of North Carolina linebacker Bruce Carter fills the inevitable hole at linebacker with several possible scenarios. By Dallas selecting Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray, we know the team is willing and ready to part ways with Marion Barber and the same goes for right tackle Marc Colombo, whose replacement was taken No. 9 overall in USC’s Tyron Smith. The Cowboys still have holes to fill, but the 2011 NFL Draft was a good start.

Colombo is aging, injury-prone and overpaid. Smith fixes two of those three problems, with the latter to be determined. Dallas team owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Smith is already listed as the starter on the Cowboys’ 2011 depth chart and went on to say Colombo won’t be a Cowboy much longer.

Also on the offensive line, the Cowboys took Missouri State guard David Arkin, who might possibly be an eventual replacement for left guard Kyle Kosier, a veteran with the same three problems as Colombo. Although no notion was made of Arkin immediately starting, he at least adds depth behind the often-injured Kosier for the time being.

Barber has been in trouble with the law and the team a lot lately. When I say “a lot,” I’m referring to two or three instances at the most, but that is too many for a guy with Barber’s salary and who was replaced completely as the starting running back in 2010. Jones insinuated the Cowboys are done with Barber when he spoke of Murray being the third back on the depth chart behind Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. I’m not sure if taking Murray in the third round was a great move considering his injury history. However, he will be considered a draft steal if he produces.

As I have often noted, the Cowboys do not need help at cornerback. Mike Jenkins had a down year following his Pro Bowl campaign in 2009 and the organization believes he will bounce back strong in 2011, as do I. However, the Alan Ball experiment at free safety didn’t work out so well. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a safety in free agency, but I’m also confident that second-year pro Akwasi Owusu-Ansah will take over that position and perform at a high level this fall.

The Cowboys drafted Buffalo CB Joshua Thomas in the fifth round, but he is not expected to cracking the starting lineup anytime soon. Dallas took a similar route by drafting Texas Tech product Jamar Wall last year, but he has been relegated to the practice squad ever since. Even more so, the Cowboys got big contributions from undrafted rookie defensive backs in 2010. Barry Church, Danny McCray, and Bryan McCann all contributed to the team’s success under head coach Jason Garrett in the latter part of the 2010 season. Garrett is obviously confident in these youngsters because he passed on two top defensive back prospects in the early second round of the draft.

For a look at the Cowboys’ potential 2011 depth chart, click here.

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