Eatman: NFC Title Game Should Help Steer Dallas' Draft


Most of the Cowboys' brass didn't arrive in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl until Monday. And even if it was earlier, you'd like to think Jerry Jones and the team's front-office personnel was watching closely when the 49ers and Seahawks slugged it out for the NFC Championship.

Not sure how anyone else saw the game, but from my perspective, it was pretty clear to me what needs to be done in the upcoming draft and even free agency.

Actually, it has been clear to everyone just by watching the Cowboys' 2013 regular season.

This team needs Dee-fense. And plenty of it.

But it's not just because they were the worst in the NFL and worst in team history. Those are reasons enough to go draft defense in the first three to four rounds. This team needs a defensive tackle, a pass-rusher, an outside linebacker and a safety. And a good cornerback wouldn't hurt either – you can never have too many.

No, I watched the 49ers and Seahawks on Sunday and it was very clear to me that the Cowboys have plenty of offense to win a Super Bowl. Sure, there are some natural improvements that need to be made, but that's with any team.

The direction the offensive line is going is very positive and the running game went from a liability early in the year, to average by the middle of the season to pretty much becoming a team-strength by seasons' end.

I know people love what the 49ers and Seahawks did to get young, athletic and cheap (for now) quarterbacks. But they can do that because they've got a defense and running game to lean on.

Russell Wilson is a good, young quarterback, but he fell into the perfect situation for him. I don't think he could go win the game if he was on the Bucs or the Browns or even the Cowboys. Russell Wilson had the No. 1 defense in the NFL on the other side. Imagine if he had the worst.

If you think I'm crazy, then ask yourself if you'd rather have Wilson and the Cowboys' team or Romo and the Seahawks' team. Do the same with the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick. That one might actually be a little different because I bet there are some fans who wouldn't mind seeing Kaepernick in Dallas.

Either way, my point is that if those teams can get to the Super Bowl – or really close – with that type of offense, the Cowboys can do that as well.

Just give them some help on defense.

Those defenses are nasty. The only thing nasty about the Cowboys defense is the stats and the yards it gives up. [embedded_ad]

When I see the front four of the 49ers or Seahawks, I see brute strength that seems missing with other squads, particularly this one here in Dallas. You don't see arms and triceps like you see with those teams and players.

That was a very physical football game and we knew it would be. I know Jason Pierre-Paul said something about blood being shed in the Cowboys-Giants game back in late November. But that one had nothing on this past battle between the 49ers and Seahawks, which has arguably become the best rival in football right now.

So the Cowboys are probably going to keep all of their defensive assistants? That's what it sounds like coming out of Mobile this week at the Senior Bowl.

Well, if that's the case. If Monte Kiffin is indeed returning for a second year, at least give him some help. I really think you can draft defense in the first three picks, if not four or five and you'd be OK.

The only exception I could see to that is taking a guard in the first round.  That would be the only position I would consider with that 16th or 17th pick. Guards have good value there and you can see the benefits of taking Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick early and really building something from the ground up.

But still, you can get by with Ron Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau and maybe Brian Waters if he decides to come back. But you can't get by with plucking guys off their couch and into the defensive-line rotation.

If Sunday's game in Seattle showed us anything, it's that defense really does win championships – at least conference ones. But it also showed me this offense is plenty good enough to win.

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