The Dallas Cowboys are picking 14th in the 2012 NFL draft, which starts on Thursday. The Cowboys have a number of needs they need to consider including a pass rusher, interior offensive line and secondary. SB Nation's Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys, addressed the Cowboys needs entering Thursday's draft.
The Cowboys have several pressing needs, and they apparently know it seeing the amount of action they exhibited in the first week of free agency. That shored up plenty of their holes: backup QB, corner, no middle linebacker depth and no interior offensive line depth. However, they still have an abundance of question marks in which they hope to find answers in late April.
1 - Front Seven Pressure. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? How can you question an entire secondary when the only pressure from the defensive front seven comes from DeMarcus Ware and it mostly occurs on first and second downs? Dallas needs better line penetration, period. It can come from a pressure-creating five-technique or it could come from an edge-setting DE that allows OLB Anthony Spencer to rush the passer more (if you believe the coaching staff's public evalutation). It could also come from drafting one of the numerous edge rushers that are slotted for the top three rounds of the draft. Regardless, Dallas needs more pressure quickly.
2 - Interior protection. Although the season was already crumbling, all was lost when the Eagles ran a stunt on play three of the next-to-last game and broke Tony Romo's hand. It was a microcosm for the issues Dallas had protecting up the middle for 2011 and something that has only been addressed by "We think we know more than you" free agency signings in Nate Livings and Mac Bernadeau. Kyle Kosier has been released and Phil Costa didn't inspire much confidence in his season-long performance. Dallas has plenty of young upstarts in David Arkin, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski, but none that inspire confidence just yet. A top-tier interior lineman wouldn't be sexy, but could be plenty helpful.
3 - Secondary help needed. Brandon Carr was a former #2 corner that came over from a loaded defensive secondary to take the reigns from Terence Newman. Dallas also signed Brodney Pool who might be the first true free safety Dallas has had in a couple years. However, he is a short timer and a long term solution will be needed. Regardless, if you can make a case for Alan Ball making your opening day roster, you have a lot of work to do on your secondary. Mike Jenkins contract will expire after this season, so a young corner would mitigate that loss. Both Orlando Scandrick and strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh have contracts Dallas can escape from, so impact players at either position makes sense. Dallas will need to look long and hard at any top flight security blankets available in the secondary when they are on the clock.
For more news and notes on the Dallas Cowboys, visit Blogging The Boys and SB Nation Dallas. Check out SB Nation's 2012 NFL mock draft as selected by NFL bloggers. And make sure to visit SB Nation's draft blog, Mocking The Draft, for more on the NFL draft.