guard, but again, remember the Cowboys haven't taken one of these offensive line cats in the first since 1981. What are the odds?
OK, so what are we left with? That would be, and in no particular order, wide receiver, defensive back (corner or safety) and defensive lineman.
Boy, nose tackle would be great, a guy to enter into a rotation with Jason Ferguson, but after Michigan's Alan Branch, there is not another guy capable of playing the 3-4 nose worthy of a first-round pick.
Now then, I know everyone is clamoring for a safety, but . . . and look, this has nothing to do with the Cowboys covering themselves at the position by signing Ken Hamlin, even if it was to only a one-year deal. But they should not effectively bury Pat Watkins, or Hamlin for that matter. And think about this: Until 2002, the Cowboys had never, ever selected a safety with a first-round pick. Now you're going to take two in the last five drafts? What are the odds? If they do, then he'd better be able to play in the slot on the nickel defense, be a Shark, if you know what I mean, on special teams, and possibly even returns kicks. Otherwise . . . .
So now, that leaves defensive end, cornerback and wide receiver. Can I have one of each?
Well, it doesn't quite work that way.
Now remember, when we talk defensive end, we're talking a 3-4 guy, not a 270-pound 4-3 guy. That's not going to work in this defense, no matter how many sacks he had in college. This will be a critical year for Marcus Spears and Chris Canty, but we've been told Wade Phillips' ability to coach the 3-4 and get pressure on a quarterback through scheme had a lot to do with him getting this job. Maybe Spears and Canty will flourish, but unless the Cowboys are sure they won't, they owe it to themselves to find out. And let's not forget Jason Hatcher. Got a feeling this kid might make a huge leap this year. Remember, he was a I-AA player taken in the third as a project. And I also recall Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying Phillips thinks Kevin Burnett can be a pressure player. We'll see. And they've been high on Jay Ratliff as a rotation guy.
Now here's a good but on this subject: But if Phillips also uses a four-man front on his nickel defense, finding a versatile guy who can become an inside pass rusher between Ellis and Ware would be huge, and if there is any doubt Ellis can't resume being the player he once was, the a specialty pass rusher at end would be huge if the Cowboys think they can afford the luxury.
But other than that, or, and so sorry for leaning on the cliché, unless the best possible guy available is a defensive end, move on.
That leaves wide receiver and cornerback, and you know what, it seems the depth in this draft - if the Cowboys decide to hang with the 22nd pick (sorry to add more confusion) - is with receivers and cornerbacks.
We could argue the Cowboys legitimately have three capable players at each position, so why do that? Well, here is my thinking. This team could use an infusion of speed, and what better spots to add some wheels than corner and receiver?
Let's talk receiver. The Cowboys have two Thirtysomething starters there, one possession guy on a one-year deal, two projects not even drafted into the NFL last year and an ex-CFL guy. One of the Thirtysomethings is Terrell Owens. Who knows, right? He's year to year. The other is Terry Glenn. My guess is a foot race between Glenn and Terence Newman would decide who is the fastest player on the team. Be nice, though, to have a three-man receiver rotation so the Thirtysomethings would not have to take 60 snaps a game. Might make them even more valuable.
And then corner. Jimmy Johnson once told me you can never have enough corners. I think Dave Campo told me the same thing. Mike Zimmer, poor guy, he knows what it was like to never have enough corners until the past two years.
Newman isn't going anywhere soon. And save your e-mails. He will get re-signed, because if Jerry Jones learned anything while interviewing for a head coach, he learned Newman just might be his most valuable player, with Ware a close second.
That leaves Anthony Henry, a solid corner, and Aaron Glenn as your nickel guy. Aaron Glenn, on a one-year deal, turns