Cowboys have five players they're targeting

The Sports Xchange

The Cowboys have five targets in their cross hairs at 14th in the first round: defensive linemen Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe and Michael Brockers, safety Mark Barron and guard David DeCastro. They expect Cox to be gone. They did enough in the offseason to pass on the DeCastro, a guard. This will come down to Brockers vs. Barron. Barron is the sure thing. He is a plug and play guy who will start from day 1. Brockers is a potential beast but needs work. He can play end or tackle and has a huge upside as a redshirt sophomore. He is also huge and could give them much needed size in the middle. It must be noted that Brockers was their last national pre-draft visit on Tuesday. Could last be first?

The Cowboys have no interest in trading up but they could trade down because they have so many options who could potentially still be on the board when they pick.

"I don't think it's probably in the cards this time that we move up," owner Jerry Jones said. "But if the right guy is not there for the value, we've got to be prepared to move down."

Nice fits: Defensive end Michael Brockers, linebacker Ronnell Lewis, tackle/guard Amini Silatolu.


Defensive end/Defensive tackle: The Cowboys need more size and bulk up front not to mention playmaking ability. Undersized nose tackle Jay Ratliff is the only playmaker on the defensive line and he is getting worn down. Drafting a lineman who could play end and tackle would allow Ratliff to play outside and move around on occasion if not full time. It's also a fact that the Cowboys are not sold on current defensive ends Marcus Spears and Kenyon Coleman. Neither makes many plays if any at all. That's why Brocker or Dontari Poe or Fletcher Cox are guys the Cowboys are looking at closely for the No. 14 overall pick.

Safety: The Cowboys signed free safety Brodney Pool in free agency but he is more of a stopgap answer with a one-year deal than a fulltime answer at the position. There has been a lot of talk about the Cowboys' problems at cornerback but their inability to make plays at the safety position is one reason they have given more passing yards the past two years than any other time in team history. They need a quarterback and playmaker in the secondary which is why safety Mark Barron is a huge option for the Cowboys in the first round.

Linebacker: The Cowboys need pass-rush help opposite DeMarcus Ware. They hope to get it from Anthony Spencer who will get $8.8 million in what could be his final season with the Cowboys. He has no more than six sacks in a season in his career. They still need more help. The Cowboys learned from the Giants last year that you can never have enough pass rushers. Add in the fact that Spencer could be lost in free agency next season means they need to draft his possible replacement.

--The best news of the offseason for the Cowboys came this week when quarterback Tony Romo said he was not going to try to qualify for the U.S. Open Golf Championships as he has done in the past.

See it's now important for Romo to focus on football and do his best to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl title.

That's a huge message that Romo is sending to the rest of his teammates and rest of the league with his no golf decision and it should pay dividends for the Cowboys, tight end best friend Jason Witten said.

"There's no question," Witten said. "I think that trickles down. It starts at the top and you show that commitment and there's no doubt about it, it trickles down. He's definitely the leader of that group to send that message."

Romo likes to play golf but he has never missed a team function or football related activity in the offseason because of it.

Witten said anyone who knows Romo would never doubt his dedication and commitment to winning because they have seen how much time he puts in.

But Witten understands the perception that lingers around his quarterback partly because of the Cowboys' inability to win in the playoffs.

Romo is 10-17 as a starter in December and January and is 1-3 in the postseason so everything he does is scrutinized into how it potentially affects his football.

Never mind that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Mannings don't practice football 24-7 in the offseason.

Those guys have titles. Romo doesn't.

"I don't think anybody has ever doubted his dedication," Witten said. "But I do think there's a perception that goes along with that and there's something to be said for that. I don't think that ever takes away from anything he ever does on the football field.

"He's the first one in and the last one to leave. He's been that way for a long time. I believe he'll put us in position to be successful this year. He's an elite quarterback. Until he wins a championship, until we do that, the critics are going to come. The thing about him is he is so far past that. He knows he has one goal. He is all into doing that."

It also should be noted that Romo's contract is up after the 2013 season. If he doesn't lead the Cowboys to a deep playoff run, they might be drafting his replacement next offseason.

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