Dallas Morning News sports columnist Rich Gosselin orchestrated an interesting exercise today, inviting readers to conduct their own draft for the Dallas Cowboys. He sets up the hypothesis by reiterating the team’s needs: two starting offensive linemen, a starting safety, an impact defensive tackle, a blocking tight end, a second running back, a third wide receiver and, for added depth, another safety, cornerback, linebacker and pass rusher. "Also," he writes, "keep your eyes open for a down-the-line quarterback if one’s there at the right price."
So here’s what I would have done. First, I would not have traded out of the 18th pick. Instead, I would have snapped up defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, a Florida prospect many believe would be a top 10 pick, if not a top five pick. In his junior (last) year at Florida, he was credited with 31 tackles (19 solo), eight of which went for lost yardage. He was a Sporting News first team all-American and a third team AP all-American.
Because I didn’t trade down, that means my next pick is at 47, and there I’m taking Larry Warford, an offensive guard who started 37 consecutive games for the Kentucky Wildcats and didn’t allow a single sack his senior year
With the 80th selection (I can’t pick at 74 because I didn’t do the aforementioned trade), I’m going with the same player the Cowboys chose: J.J. Wilcox, the safety from Georgia Southern with 4.5 speed and who also can return kicks (he averaged 25.2 yards per kickoff return his senior year). He also had 88 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups.
Thus, with my first three picks, I addressed three pressing needs, which is much more than the Cowboys braintrust accomplished.
It’s now the third day of the draft and with the 114th pick, although it would be tempting to take a second guard (Earl Watford from James Madison), I’m going to take a flyer on "a down-the-line quarterback" and take Landry Jones of Oklahoma, the Big 12's all-time leading passer. He just seems like too great a bargain to bypass here and, frankly, I’m not sold on the idea of Tony Romo being the answer to the Cowboys’ offensive questions—never have been, never will be.
Besides, with the 151st pick, I can grab my second offensive lineman, Tanner Hawkinson, a 6-5, 298-pound tackle out of the University of Kansas. Because of the current quality of my offensive line, I feel relatively positive Hawkinson can step right in and be a starter.
With my final pick, the 185th choice, I’m taking tight end Michael Williams. Because he played his college ball under Nick Saban at Alabama, you know he’s an excellent blocker. He also had three receptions, one for a touchdown, in the national championship game against Notre Dame.
So that’s my draft and, although I’m prejudiced, of course, I think it’s a better one than the Cowboys had.