Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Have a Lot to Prove With This Draft

With the NFL Draft just a few weeks away, the projections, mock drafts, opinions, conjectures, and all the rest that come with this event.

For the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones, there might be more riding on this draft than at any other point in franchise history. Jones needs to make a splash to prove he still has what it takes to turn this team in a championship contender.

He's failed over the last few years, bringing in players who haven't met the kind of potential most thought they would. Bottom line? Jones' draft picks have flopped.

His most recent and most hyped, former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, has made news during this off season and not for any good reasons. He and his "friends" were tossed out of an upscale mall in the Dallas area, his third such run-in with security or law enforcement at the same location.

This time needs to be different for the owner who spent most of last season being ridiculed by fans and questioned by every radio talk show and writer in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas. After every loss his team sustained, Jones was in the locker room in front of more than 15 cameras trying to calm everyone's fears about who this team really was.

What he wasn't willing to do was give up the one thing everyone seems to want him to give up--control. Jones' ego won't allow it. He wouldn't be watch some young general manager come swooping in to Arlington and build the team he has failed to build for the past 16 seasons.

Say what you want about the players available in this draft, the big names that could draw big ticket sales the moment after his name was announced, or the safe pick that would make fans and the media groan and let out a collective, "here we go again."

Where the Cowboys need help is on defense, it seems to be the consensus among the die hard fans and those who cover the team.

I've had my own opinions about where the Cowboys need to go and what could shake up the same old picks Jones seems to make.

Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was a hot topic around these parts for quite awhile. However, his name was shot down by just about everyone in the metroplex not only because of his off the field problems at both Florida and Auburn but the lack of being able to fit in head coach Jason Garrett's system.

With Tony Romo, Jon Kina, and former Texas Tech quarterback Steven McGee already on the roster, it seems unlikely they would use a first round, or even a second round, draft pick to bring in yet another quarterback who would be buried on the bench for a good portion of the next two to four years. Not exactly money well spent, right?

Another player who's name was mentioned was former Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin. But ESPN's AFC blogger, James Walker, seems to think he's a better fit with the Baltimore Ravens. Luckily for Mr. Walker I tend to agree with him.

The Cowboys don't need another wide receiver. They already have Bryant, Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and Sam Hurd not to mention one of the best tight ends in the game in Jason Witten who tends to be a favorite target of Romo's.

A few other names who haev been mentioned in connection with the Cowboys are former LSU cornerback Patrick Petersen who Mel Kiper who has the San Francisco 49ers picking him up at pick No. 7 two spots before the Cowboys; Von Miller the former linebacker out of Texas A&M; Tyron Smith the offensive tackle from USC; Prince Amukamara the star cornerback out of Nebraska, and Da'Quan Bowers the defensive end out of Clemson.

Each of those names should be enticing to Jones and would definitely be big time improvements right off the bat. Not to mention each of these guys could come right in and make an impact in their very first season in the league.

As of right now, it looks like Miller and Amukamara will be off the board before the Cowboys' pick comes up. The only way to grab either of those two guys, if they have the most interest from the team staff, is to trade up.

If they want to do that, they're going to need to give up something to get two to four spots higher in the first round of the draft. You're looking at the number seven (49ers) or the number three (Bills) overall pick, both of whom are in need of a quarterback regardless of how much faith new 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has in Alex Smith or the Bills have in Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Cowboys have someone they can use as trade bait. In fact, they have two players they could dangle just to see how far the conversation goes. Quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant.

You don't deal them right off the bat but dangling them will give Jones the opportunity to see if it starts any conversations at all with either team.

Regardless of what the Cowboys decided to do, this is going to be the most telling draft for Jones since he brought in Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman. He has a lot to prove to the players in the locker room and to the fans who have supported this team for as long as they've been alive.

It's time for this team and it's ownership to make a splash, to do something no one is going to see coming. It's the only way this franchise gets back on its feet and gets back to where it used to be.

Follow Todd Kaufmann @T_Kaufmann on Twitter or find him on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment