The 2014 NFL draft has come and gone but did the Dallas Cowboys get better? America’s Team is still painfully short of talent on the defensive side of the ball after Jerry Jones spent an off-season that did little to address the Cowboys’ needs.
If ever there were a draft where Jones had to be bold it was this one. Not Johnny Manziel bold, but finding a high-end defensive player would have been nice. Instead the Cowboys sat on their hands, let the draft come to them and took Zack Martin, the best player available left. This approach would have been commendable for the Cowboys most years but for a team with a 34-year old quarterback it was not enough this time.
The Dallas Cowboys need defensive help now. Jones did give up a second round choice and a third round choice to move up in the second round and select Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, but that hardly seems enough to improve the third worst defense in NFL history in terms of yards given up by a team. Why the inactivity from a team that is usually hogging the headlines?
It is simple really. The Cowboys are finally paying the bills. Bills that have been overdue. They had to release DeMarcus Ware because of salary cap restraints and they could not afford to find any suitable replacements. So the hope was owner and general manager Jones would find help in the draft.
It is hard to see at the moment that the Dallas Cowboys improved their defense in the NFL draft without a first round selection on the defensive side of the ball? It would be wrong to criticize Martin, the offensive lineman from Notre Dame. He will likely anchor the Cowboys line for the next 10 seasons and rack up a few pro bowls along the way, but the issue for Jones is the fast approaching expiration date on Romo’s window as a starting quarterback capable of winning a Super Bowl.
Jones took Martin but the Fighting Irish offensive tackle is not the player he coveted. He wanted Anthony Barr or Ryan Shazier or someone who could be the anchor for the Cowboys defense for the 2014 season and beyond. Given Jones history of overspending dollars and draft picks he found himself muted during the during the first round of the draft last week. He did not have enough ammunition to move up and could do nothing but sit and wait for his turn.
In the end the Cowboys did what they had to. Martin was too good to pass up, but for the coming season the Cowboys are still missing an impact player for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to build around. The bill finally came due for Jerry Jones as he stares down the barrel of what looks like another 8-8 type season.
Fans in Texas are left to wonder if the Dallas Cowboys got better in the 2014 NFL draft. They are not alone. Jerry Jones is wondering the same thing.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Dallas Cowboys