The 2012 NFL Draft was kind to the Dallas Cowboys, but not in the areas the team needed. In the weeks leading up to the event, literally everyone in and/or around Cowboys Nation was on board with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett‘s ignorant assumption that the team could draft “purely.” That moronic thought process left huge holes in Dallas’ roster this past season, which is part of the reason why the Cowboys finished 8-8.
By “purely,” Garrett meant the team could simply take the best player available at each position after the first round because he thought all of Dallas’ needs were filled. Sure, the Cowboys had addressed their needs at cornerback, but what about all the rest of them? Nothing was done about the offensive line and that is still a glaring need heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.
In the past 48 hours, there have been conflicting reports regarding the level of the Cowboys’ interest in drafting a running back this year to replace Felix Jones, who will depart via free agency. Most notably, the Cowboys have been linked to former Oregon Ducks star Kenjon Barner, who’s projected to be a second-round pick, but Dallas would be foolish to waste its 47th overall pick on any running back, including Barner.
Jones is a nice change-of-pace back, but he’s not irreplaceable by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Dallas has two young backs in Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner who are more than capable of filling the void left by Jones, which will allow the Cowboys to only carry three running backs on the active roster.
Dunbar is a smaller, younger and even quicker version of Jones without the constant injury concerns. After being called up from the practice squad as a rookie in 2012, Dunbar had multiple carries of 10-plus yards, most of which were gained by him squeezing through a hole many backs would have thought was too small and then bursting ahead for positive yardage.
Tanner is a great all-around back with decent speed, quickness and power. The best thing about this youngster is he runs with passion without being reckless, which is refreshing to Dallas fans and the real ones know what I mean by that.
Dallas has glaring needs on the offensive and defensive line and a vast majority of the Cowboys’ attention in the 2013 NFL Draft should be paid to those areas. Wasting picks on flashy players like Barner when the team doesn’t need a running back is exactly the kind of move Dallas has made in recent years that’s resulted in so many at-or-below .500 seasons. The switch to a 4-3 defense has absolutely ruined everything the Cowboys had going on that side of the ball, so now draft picks must be used to mold the team to that scheme while also filling holes on the offensive line. To suggest Dallas should draft a running back this year at any point in the draft is moronic, but that sounds exactly like something the Cowboys would do.