IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have at least six more cracks at drafting a pass rusher this weekend, but their first priority Thursday was trading up for this year's top cornerback, Morris Claiborne.
Does that mean they believe coverage, not pressure, was the source of their defensive inconsistency last year? It's the old "chicken and egg" argument. Listening to Jason Garrett, and watching the defense last year, the answer is both.
But Garrett believes their current pass rush has potential to be better than some believe, and it should get better with the addition of Claiborne and $50 million signing Brandon Carr bottling up receivers for longer stretches.
"We can provide outstanding pressure," Garrett said. "We have arguably the best pass rusher in the National Football League in DeMarcus Ware. We feel like Jay Ratliff inside is someone who affects the quarterback and the passing game week in, week out. We feel like Anthony Spencer on the other side, even though his sack numbers aren't like DeMarcus' sack numbers, he affects the passing game by forcing the quarterback to move in the pocket.
"We feel like we can provide pressure. You always want more pressure players. That helps your defense. But at the same time, cover guys make it difficult as well."
Value factored into the Cowboys' decision to grab Claiborne. They never seemed too high on the pass rushers projected in the first round, which is one reason they decided to protect themselves by franchising Anthony Spencer.
If there was a Ware-type rusher available in the top six, maybe they would have gone that route to help Carr and Co.