2016 NFL Draft Could Be Make or Break for Cowboys
With lofty positioning in tonight's NFL Draft, Jerry Jones holds the key to Dallas Cowboys relevancy in quarterback Tony Romo's final years.
The outspoken and often criticized Cowboys owner and general manager has made no bones about it, failing to assemble a Super Bowl champion around signal caller Tony Romo would be the biggest failure of his professional career.
Jones has never wavered from his belief that Romo has what it takes to bring an ever elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy back to Big D and tonight, with the 4th overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, Jones has the opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.
Selling the farm to trade up for picks 1 and 2, the Rams and Eagles announced to the world that quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be the first two names called tonight in Chicago, be it in any particular order.
Picking at number 3, the San Diego Chargers in many ways hold the key to who the Cowboys select at number 4.
However, in my opinion it shouldn't matter.
In terms of ceiling and athleticism, many pundits and draft experts are touting Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey as the best overall player in this year's draft.
With holes to patch on defense, will San Diego steal Ramsey from Dallas one spot before?
Again, it shouldn't matter.
Regardless of the Chargers choice at number 3, the Cowboys would be wise to invest their fourth pick on Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Yes, in recent years, the rather sizeable chink in the Cowboys armor has been their defense.
Since Tony Romo took the reigns of the offense in 2006 many of Dallas' contending squads met their ruination in the playoffs or missed the postseason entirely thanks to a sad sack defense.
But when was Dallas at their best in the Romo era?
The answer is 2014 when the Cowboys ran roughshod over opponents behind DeMarco Murray to the tune of a 12-4 record.
That season, Dallas looked destined to return to glory.
Instead, Dez Bryant's infamous "no catch" made us all question what exactly a completed catch is in today's NFL and the Cowboys were ousted in the divisional round of the playoffs by the Green Bay Packers.
Perhaps the Cowboys failure to go the distance in '14 goes a long way towards denouncing my opinion, but then again, perhaps the Cowboys dynasty in the early 90's goes a long way towards validating it.
The Dallas Cowboys of the 90's went as far as Emmitt Smith could take them and he delivered three rings.
One quick and clear difference between the dynasty Cowboys of yesteryear and today's team is that those Cowboys also sported a top ranked defense. However, that didn't help Dallas from starting the 1993 season 0-2 while Emmitt Smith held out in a contract dispute.
Emmitt re-joined the team in week three and the Cowboys went on to win their second Super Bowl in as many years.
Offensively, the Cowboys were built then in an eerily similar fashion as today's team.
Emmitt was a once in a lifetime running back who thrived behind the game's best offensive line and Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were bonified superstars at quarterback and wide receiver.
In 2014 Romo, Murray, and Dez looked to form "the triplets" 2.0 but it was short lived. Murray departed in free agency after the season and the Cowboys were instantly back to having just a salty duo on offense.
By taking Ezekiel Elliott tonight, the Cowboys could torment teams with a triple threat on offense for the remainder of Romo's career.
The argument against taking a running back that high in the draft is the fact the position group has been devalued in recent years in large part due to longevity concerns. Why draft a running back so high when his shelf life is only a few years and the talent pool at that position is rather deep?
In Dallas' case, because Tony Romo only has a few years left himself. By taking Elliott you maximize Romo's remaining days and employ one of the best offenses in the league for the duration of his career.
The Cowboys defense needs work and make no mistake about it, it will still need work if they select Jalen Ramsey (defensive back) or Joey Bosa (defensive end) with tonight's first pick.
Basically, it comes down to this.
Use tonight's first pick to fortify what would be one of, if not the very best offenses in the game, or use tonight's first pick to insert one outstanding athlete in to an otherwise average defense.
If you can be great on one side of the ball, doesn't that prove more worthwhile than being average on both sides?
Not to mention, a dominant running game eats up clock and allows an average defense to stay off the field leaving them less chances to foul up the game or worse yet, the season.
Jerry, you're on the clock.