The Dallas Cowboys will head to Indianapolis this weekend for the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, and their focus should be to find players that can contribute early on in their NFL careers. Dallas has too many holes on their roster to draft “project players” who might become good in three or four years. They need guys who can be instant impact players, and I believe an example of that type of player is Dee Ford of Auburn.
For Dallas, it is no secret which side of the ball needs the most help — their defense finished last in the NFL in 2013. If that wasn’t bad enough, 2013 was also the worst season by a defense in the history of Dallas’ franchise. To make things even tougher for Dallas, they will likely lose Jason Hatcher to free agency, and he was their best defensive player in 2013. It is crystal clear that Dallas must add some defensive playmakers if they want 2014 to be different.
Ford is a 6-foot-2, 243 pound DE who recorded 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss last season for Auburn. Some scouts believe he may be too small to stay at DE in the NFL and that he could be better equipped to play LB at the next level. He is still projected to be a first round pick in the draft in May.
Whether he stays at DE or makes the switch to LB, I still believe Dallas should look closely at him. While Dallas’ most pressing need is along the DL, it’s not like they couldn’t use another LB. Dallas needs players who can make plays, and that is what Ford does.
Another reason I like Ford is because he played his career in the SEC conference, which is by far the toughest conference in all of college football. That conference has produced the most NFL players in the past decade.
Dallas’ goal is to once again be a perennial playoff contender and they must improve the defense in order to reach that goal. Ford would not fix all the problems on the defense, but he would be an upgrade over what they have had the past few seasons.