The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away and every team in the league is preparing for three of the biggest days in the offseason. For the Dallas Cowboys, who have been hindered by the salary cap, one of the only ways to get better is to draft well. Not only do they need to draft well, but they need to upgrade at certain positions in order to be a better team in 2013.
If you follow the Cowboys, you know exactly what those positions are and you have a very clear idea of who the Cowboys might be looking at drafting with their first round pick. The three names consistently linked with the Cowboys right now are Alabama guard Chance Warmack, North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper and Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. Ask any Dallas fan and almost any of those players would be a welcomed pick to help the Cowboys at positions of need.
However, every situation must accounted for and the worst case scenario must trigger a plan by the organization. For the Cowboys the worst case scenario is if all three of the aforementioned players are drafted before they pick at 18. What would the Cowboys do if Warmack, Cooper and Vaccaro are all gone when Dallas goes on the clock?
The Cowboys need to be prepared for this scenario, just as they were last year when they had discussions about what they would do if Morris Claiborne began to slip. He did and Dallas put their plan into action to select the cornerback when the draft played out that way. Just as unlikely as it was for the Cowboys to draft Claibrone last year, they need to be ready for something just as unlikely to happen in this draft. That preparedness can make all the difference in the world come April 25.
No one knows if this scenario plays out in a few weeks but looking at mock drafts from draft experts to novice draftniks, it could happen. Jonathan Bales of the DC Times puts the odds at all three being gone at 25%, which means the Cowboys need to be ready with a backup plan.
Players who have also been linked to the Cowboys at pick 18 are Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who also is likely to be drafted before the Cowboys pick, and Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker. Fluker seems like the likeliest option but I wouldn’t be thrilled with that pick and hope the Cowboys would explore all options before deciding on what to do, which would include trading down. The trade route scares me as much as it probably scares any of you but it remains a possibility.
Also remember that if all of the Cowboys top targets are gone there is a good chance a prospect has likely slipped and Dallas could capitalize by drafting that player. The point is there will be options for the Cowboys even if their three best options are off the board when they’re on the clock at pick 18, they just need to be prepared to make the best decision possible.
The NFL Draft is approaching quickly and the Cowboys need to be ready for every scenario, their 2013 season may depend on it.