The 2013 NFL Draft is an important one for the Dallas Cowboys.
The team has failed to make the playoffs in the past three seasons, finishing a combined four games under .500 in that time. One reason for Dallas’s lack of success has been its low success rate of drafting impactful prospects.
Tony Romo recently signed a long-term contract extension with the Cowboys, ensuring that he will be the starting quarterback for years to come. With the team set at the most important position, they will look to surround their Romo with high quality players on April 25-27.
Despite finishing third in the NFC East in 2012, Dallas was strong in certain aspects. Led by Romo, they were third in the league in passing offense. With wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, few teams can match the Cowboys offensive firepower.
On defense, Dallas struggled, allowing 25 points per game. They addressed their need at cornerback in last year’s draft by selecting Morris Clairborne with the No.5 overall pick. At No.18 in the 2013 first round, the Cowboys could address their other defensive areas of need.
Adding a top notch safety would really give a boost to the Dallas secondary. In a league where offenses rely heavily on the pass, having upper echelon defensive backs can be a huge advantage.
Kenny Vaccaro could be the best fit for the Cowboys if he’s still around for their first pick. The strong safety from Texas is the best player at his position in this year’s draft class. He can start right away and give help the Cowboys in their attempt to stop Robert Griffin III and Eli Manning.
If Vaccaro is gone by the time the Cowboys are ready to take their first pick, they might try to improve their defensive line. North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams could be headed to Dallas at No.18.
The Cowboys are in need of a solid defensive tackle to improve their run defense. In 2012, they finished 22nd in the NFL, allowing 125.2 rushing yards per game. Williams may be a tier below defensive tackles like Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei, but could be a good option in the middle to start the season.
There’s a chance the Cowboys will go after an offensive lineman in the first round. However, the lineman like Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson will be long gone by No.18. With the top talent at the position not available when the Cowboys pick in the first round, they may wait until the second round to give Romo more protection.
The Cowboys have the 47th overall pick in the second round, where they might be able to find good value on an offensive lineman. Syracuse tackle Justin Pugh could be the Cowboys’ man with their first pick on Day 2.
If Pugh isn’t available, Florida State’s Menelike Watson or Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick could be on the Cowboys radar. Only five quarterbacks were sacked more times than Romo in 2012, so it’s almost a guarantee that Dallas will add some offensive line help in the early rounds.