they should select a safety at No. 9 whose rating is in the high 20s just because they want a safety. You take the best player who corresponds to your greatest need.
And when you look at it, the Cowboys definitely have needs, making this draft, and not just the first pick but all the picks, a very important roster-stocking tool.
Thirdly, a reasonable person would guard against all this talk of cutting this guy and cutting that guy and ridding yourself of him or him. Because who you replacing all these guys with first of all? There are only so many quality players you will get in the draft. There will be only so much money you can spend in free agency with the return of the salary cap, and believe me there will be a salary cap, and maybe one more restrictive, if indeed the NFL is playing football in 2011. And do not forget about the cap penalty attached to releasing guys with prorated signing bonuses remaining, in other words, creating dead money, and for those of us who were around in 2000-02, we know all about how debilitating that can be to your roster.
Now let's look. Start with the defensive line, and I know, only three positions. But if the free agency designations remain similar to the current rules that means three of the Cowboys' top four defensive ends (Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher) will be unrestricted free agents while the fourth, Igor Olshansky, didn't seem as productive in 2010 as he was the previous season. Sure could use an upgrade here even if one of the unrestricted three is signed.
Could they use another corner? Three didn't nearly seem enough on last year's initial 53-man roster. Nothing wrong with creating reasonable competition for starters Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins, but this doesn't mean you automatically take one in the first round. Hey, the Packers won a Super Bowl with a former 2006 rookie free-agent (Traman Williams) starting.
Need a safety? Gerald Sensabaugh is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and Alan Ball a restricted free agent, and we know very little about the every-down ability of Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, special teams tackles leader Danny McCray (28), Barry Church and Andrew Sendejo.
Inside linebackers anyone? And that doesn't necessarily mean replacing Bradie James or Keith Brooking. Talking shear numbers here. Yeah, there's Sean Lee. But after him inside, who? No one you are trusting.
See what I mean? Think we hit every position but nose tackle and outside linebacker on defense, although when you think about it, after DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, how much you trusting Victor Butler or Brandon Williams should injury force either into a starting role?
Now then, what about the offensive line? Absolutely. Tackles, guards, center/guards. At No. 9? Only if the guy is a tackle, and one good enough to start immediately at left tackle, and then for the next nine years. There are some good ones out there, first-rounders for sure. But are they better than say a defensive lineman at No. 9? Be careful. Also be careful when suggesting slashing existing guys. I keep hearing how the Cowboys need to cut Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis, and not even consider re-signing Kyle Kosier - like three-fifths of their offensive line. So quick, who is taking their places? Be very careful, and let Flozell Adams playing in the Super Bowl be a cautionary tale.
What wide receiver - even if we assume Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Roy Williams are still 1, 2 and 3 - is No. 4? Sam Hurd also is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. How much do you trust Kevin Ogletree or Jesse Holley? Again, the Packers won a Super Bowl when their No. 2 guy (Donald Driver) didn't even play two quarters in the game. And I hear all about releasing Roy. OK, do so, and now who's my third and fourth receivers? Don't just tell me go get two more, because as Bill used to say, you just don't go down to Texaco to get one. Remember, the Packers third receiver was Jordy Nelson, who if not for a couple of drops could have been the Super Bowl MVP. And, he was a second-round pick.
Right now, who is the third tight end? Bears looking at, especially if the Cowboys are unsure John Phillips will successfully return from reconstructive knee surgery. Yeah, I know, Jason