With a Giant Free Agent Plunge, the Dallas Cowboys Have Set Themselves Up to Make the Best Pick at 14
By Tommy Smith
@RandHsports on twitter
To say the Dallas Cowboys have been busy this offseason would be a huge understatement. With another 21 days remaining until the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys have signed a franchise record eight free agents thus far. The Cowboys have been able to fill a number of holes that have plagued this team for quite some time. The new additions include cornerback Brandon Carr, linebacker Dan Conner and back-up quarterback Kyle Orton. Dallas also signed two offensive lineman in Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings. These moves were made to allow for the release of guard Kyle Kosier who has been a Dallas Cowboys mainstay for several seasons up front, but an injury plagued 2011 season seemed to seal Kosier’s fate as he has gone the way of several Cowboy’s offensive lineman recently. The team appears to be completely rebuilding this unit that has been old and slow for too long.
After winning a total of 14 games the last two seasons the Cowboys find themselves drafting in the middle of the first round with the 14th pick. The 2012 free agent frenzy has freed the Dallas Cowboys up to take one of a number of players who will be available when they make their selection. Here is a quick breakdown of who and why the Dallas Cowboys may select at number 14 day one of the draft.
David DeCastro – Offensive Guard – Stanford
This may be the safest pick for the Dallas Cowboys at number 14, but after signing two free agent guards and drafting a tackle, Tyron Smith, in the first round last year Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys may be more inclined to look at a defensive player in round one.
DeCastro is said to be a can’t miss NFL player for many years. He has played in Stanford’s pro-style offense and has not been simply pass blocking in the spread offense that many colleges are running these days. DeCastro has good speed. He can pull, getting to the edge and can be seen hitting the second level on film several times in the running game. Pair him up with Smith on the right side and the Dallas Cowboys have the makings of Nate Newton and Eric Williams once again. Juicy!
Mark Barron – Safety – Alabama
The Dallas Cowboys had several weaknesses in 2011 but none was bigger than the secondary. The Cowboys finished the season losing four of their last five games and the secondary was right int he middle of the free fall. The club does not appear interested in resigning free agent Abram Elam, so Gerald Sensabaugh is your elder statesman at safety, making Barron an attractive option.
The Cowboys have evidently shown increased interest in Barron recently. Their brass was there in force to watch Barron at Alabama’s pro day and reportedly spoke to Crimson Tide Head Coach, Nick Sabin about Barron on and off the field. Barron is a playmaker, a run stopper and a big hitter. For a guy not know for his coverage skills, he had 12 interceptions at Bama. He has size at 6’1 215lbs and would fit right in the Cowboys run defense and coverage packages right away.
Stephen Gilmore – Conerback – South Carolina
The Dallas Cowboys finally split ways with former number one pick, Terrance Newman, this offseason after they signed Carr to a big contract. Mike Jenkins will hold down the other corner for Rob Ryan’s defense but he has one year left on his contract and will probably be taking his talents elsewhere in 2013, so the Cowboys need another conerback. Gilmore may be that guy. Having to face Mike Vick, Eli Manning and possibly Robert Griffin III twice a year will put fear into any secondary coaches mind, and the Dallas Cowboys are going to have to shore up at cornerback to compete in the NFC East.
Gilmore is a speedy corner with size. He ran a 4.44 forty yard dash at the combine and measures in at a 6′ 190lbs. Ryan loves to play in your face press coverage and with Gilmore’s size and speed he can fit that style. Another plus for Gilmore is that he is a candidate to move to or fill in at safety. He is said to struggle in zone systems or when he is not allowed to play freely, but if he jamming his man at the line of scrimmage that is not going to matter much.
Dre Kirkpatrick – Conerback – Alabama
All the skill, but does he have the heart? This is the guy the Cowboys used to take a risk on, but buyer beware. Kirkpatrick can talk with the best of them and he can ball with the best of them but a report that he continually had to be motivated by Sabin at Alabama to stay focused, coupled with a 2011 drug charge for possession of marijuana, that was later dropped, begs the question about Kirkpatrick. What is his motivation? He wants everyone to think and hear he is the best, and he has the skills to be just that. Does he want to put in the work to be the best remains to be seen? Maybe somewhere other than Dallas would be a better place for that to happen?
Kirkpatrick has all the ball skills and one-on-one skills to be one of the best. He has been used mainly in man to man coverage’s but has shown better in zone situations than Gilmore. He is known as a quiet leader. He has gotten by with his superior talent in the NCAA but the NFL is a whole new ball game. Kirkpatrick is one of those guys whose NFL career could go either way. That is going to be a tough call for Jerry and the Dallas Cowboys.
If the Cowboys were to decide on Barron they may be able to move down a few spots to get him. The New York Jets are poised to take DeCastro if he is there at 15, so if the Cowboys found a team in the 20 – 23 area of the first round willing to trade up to get DeCasto they could play their cards right and pick up an extra second or third round pick and still get their man in Barron. That would be a major coup for the Dallas Cowboys and a great way to continue what has been a productive offseason so far.
- Rattle and Hum’s NFL Mock Draft 5.0 (rattleandhumsports.com)
- Could There be a Plan at the Ranch? – Dallas Cowboys News (rattleandhumsports.com)