The 2014 NFL Draft has finally arrived after the wait had gotten to DMV levels, as one Dallas Cowboys humorist put it on Twitter. Even though the rumors and reports regarding America’s Team are always plentiful, they have been excessive this year and that isn’t changing on the final day: The latest murmurs suggest the Cowboys are leaning toward drafting an offensive lineman in the first round, which would be a big mistake.
Multiple media outlets have “reported” the Cowboys are specifically interested in Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, who played tackle in college and is listed as a tackle, but is being looked at as a guard in the NFL. At 6-foot-4 and 308 pounds, Martin doesn’t have ideal size to play tackle at the next level and his skill set translates well as an interior lineman. That’s all well and good, and the Cowboys need a new right guard, but not with their first-round pick.
Cowboys fans should hope these rumors aren’t true because with all the holes this team needs to fill, the defensive line is by far the biggest. With the 16th overall pick in this year’s draft, Dallas should have at least a couple of solid options for a defensive end or tackle, both of which are pressing needs.
Sure, Mackenzy Bernadeau needs to be replaced as soon as possible at right guard, but even if that happened via the Cowboys’ first-round pick, the defense would still be so bad that it wouldn’t matter how good the offense became. Remember when Dallas put up 48 points against the eventual AFC Champion Denver Broncos…and lost? There will be a lot more of that if the Cowboys don’t wisely use their early draft picks on defensive players who are solid prospects and can step in and make plays right off the bat.
If that means Jerry Jones needs to trade up a few spots to land a player like Aaron Donald or move down and save value on a late first-rounder such as Kony Ealy, then so be it. Either way, Dallas can’t afford to pass on a defensive lineman who can contribute early on as a rookie in the first round. Martin will probably turn into a solid pro, especially if he’s inserted at guard, but he’s not a smart pick for the Cowboys at No. 16.
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