It sounds silly when you say it out loud, especially since the Cowboys have myriad needs on defense and already have one of the NFL’s best offenses. But if nothing else, Tony Romo’s retirement serves as a stark reminder that every team’s window is closing. The only question is how those teams choose to slow up the inevitable. If you’re the Patriots, you develop a time machine and tell Tom Brady to go nuts.

If you’re the other 31 teams, it’s a nonstop balance -- filling the roster through free agency and the draft, and patching the most obvious needs first. There’s a lot to that thinking but sometimes you have to go outside the box to find otherwise elusive results.

Yes, on paper, the Cowboys desperately need a pass rusher, or at the very least, some help in the secondary. What this team -- one that features the NFL’s top offensive line and some of the best playmakers in Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott and Jason Witten, not to mention a young franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott -- doesn’t have as a priority is adding another skill-position threat. But Witten -- who is 34, entering his 15th season and might be inducted into the Hall of Fame before Romo -- is nearing the end of a great career. So why not give Prescott every available opportunity to succeed while the offensive line is still intact, Bryant is still a top-five receiver and Elliott is still young and explosive?

Put another way: If Jerry Jones had convinced himself that Johnny Manziel was worth drafting in 2014, finding the next great tight end for an already explosive offense should be a no-brainer, right? 

1. Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: There isn’t a quarterback worthy of the No. 1 pick, so instead of forcing the issue, the Browns take the freakishly athletic Garrett, who would immediately upgrade Cleveland’s pass rush, which ranked 21st last season.

Myles Garrett is the clear No. 1 prospect on most draft boards and would help the Browns immediately. USATSI

2. San Francisco 49ers

Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: Yes, there is a glaring hole at quarterback but the 49ers’ defense was god-awful last season, ranking 28th against the pass and 31st against the run. Solomon, who has been compared to Michael Bennett, is a low-risk pick because A) of his upside and B) he’s not a quarterback who would arrive in San Francisco with unreasonable expectations. 

3. Chicago Bears

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State Silver lining to being terrible on both sides of the ball: It’s hard to go wrong with whoever you select. Lattimore is as close as you can get to a shutdown corner in today’s NFL, and the Bears have a huge need at the position. Lattimore, who has a history of hamstring injuries, suffered a hip flexor injury at the combine, which could raise concerns about his durability. That said, it’s hard to overlook his athleticism.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jonathan Allen, DL, AlabamaAllen was unblockable at times at Alabama and had 28.5 sacks as a three-year starter. He would join a defense that drafted Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack last season and Dante Fowler in 2015.

The Jags add Jonathan Allen, who is yet another piece to their young and talented defense. USATSI

5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)

Jamal Adams, S, LSU:  Adams might be the safest pick in the draft and he can play in the box or deep center field. He’ll immediately bolster a Tennessee pass defense that ranked 26th last season.

6. New York Jets

Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State: Darrelle Revis is gone and even with the addition of Morris Claiborne, the Jets’ secondary is one big question mark. Hooker is one of the best players in the draft and he’ll immediately upgrade a suspect unit. Plus, there’s no way they draft another quarterback, a year after taking Christian Hackenberg in the second round, right? RIGHT?!

7. Los Angeles Chargers

Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: In our last mock draft, we had the Chargers preparing for life after Philip Rivers and drafting quarterback Deshaun Watson. We’ve since reconsidered because Rivers can still play another 2-3 years, and maybe longer if the Chargers can protect him. It’s why Ramczyk makes sense here, even though San Diego already added Russell Okung this offseason.

8. Carolina Panthers

John Ross, WR, Washington: Like the Chargers, the Panthers could certainly stand to bolster the offensive line, and running back Leonard Fournette has been a popular target here (Ron Rivera even said recently that you can’t draft a running back too high), but a season after Cam Newton was “shook,” giving him a downfield threat could open things up for the rest of the offense. Ross is only 5-feet-11 and 190 pounds, but what he doesn’t have in height, he makes up for in burst and elusiveness. Ross had 17 receiving touchdowns last season and is also a threat on special teams, averaging 24.4 yards as a kick returner during his career. Oh, and he ran an all-time best 4.22 40-yard dash at the combine.

You can’t teach speed, and Washington’s John Ross has plenty to burn. USATSI

9. Cincinnati Bengals

Corey Davis, WR, Western MichiganThe Bengals drafted Tyler Boyd last year, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the loss of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, who had great 2016 seasons in Atlanta and Detroit. Davis (6-3, 209) would immediately improve a passing offense that already includes A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Boyd.

10. Buffalo Bills

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: The Bills will have Tyrod Taylor for the 2017 season but first-year coach Sean McDermott’s long-term vision might include building the team around his guys, a conversation that always starts with a franchise quarterback. The Bills missed on EJ Manuel in 2013 but the only thing that Watson and Manuel have in common is they they both played in the ACC. If the Bills can be patient, Watson could pay dividends in 2018 and beyond.

11. New Orleans Saints

Taco Charlton, DE, MichiganHere’s all you need to know: 30th, 32nd, 31st -- that’s where the Saints’ defense has finished the past three years. So it stands to reason that they continue to add defensive playmakers early in the draft, which is why defensive end Taco Charlton -- who has drawn comparisons to Chandler Jones -- is the pick here. And while most mock drafts don’t have Charlton going so high, the Saints are reportedly infatuated with his skills and how they would translate to the NFL.

12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: The Browns need a franchise quarterback. Those six words have been true pretty much since the team returned to the NFL in 1999. Trubisky is an Ohio native who many evaluators consider the best quarterback in the draft. At 6-2, the former Tar Heel is short by prototypical NFL QB standards, and he has just one year as a starter in college, which is a concern for some scouts.

Call him Mitchell. Also, call him another Browns quarterback. USATSI

13. Arizona Cardinals

DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: The Cardinals could address life in a post-Carson Palmer world a year or two before it actually happens. Interestingly, coach Bruce Arians said recently that he’s “bugged” by Trubisky playing just one season and thinks only one quarterback is ready to play right away. Reportedly, Kizer is that guy.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State: Played in the same secondary with Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker and started every game the past two seasons and replaced another first-rounder, Eli Apple, who was drafted by the Giants last year. At 6-0, 195 pounds, Conley has been compared to Aqib Talib, which would make him a valuable asset for the Eagles in the rough-and-tumble NFC East.

15. Indianapolis Colts

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: The Colts added pass rushers John Simon and Jabaal Sheard in free agency but you can never have too many players to get after the quarterback. Barnett, who is also stout against the run, led the country with 33 sacks the past three seasons.

16. Baltimore Ravens

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: With linebacker Reuben Foster on the board, he certainly makes sense here, as does tight end O.J. Howard. But while the Ravens wait on former first-rounder Breshad Perriman to make the leap to big-time deep threat, Williams could help ease the burden. Williams isn’t a burner, but he’s an imposing, physical wideout who can make tough catches look easy.

Joe Flacco needs a playmaker. Meet Clemson’s Mike Williams, Joe. USATSI

17. Washington Redskins

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State: With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon gone, the Redskins have holes at wide receiver, and their secondary could use some upgrades too. But McDowell, who is only 20, could be a truly special player and might be tough to pass up here.

18. Tennessee Titans

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: The Titans bolstered their secondary in free agency (Logan Ryan, Jonathan Cyprien) and with the No. 5 pick (see above). Next up: Getting Marcus Mariota some weapons. The dearth of playmakers has been a problem in Tennessee for several years and Howard, considered the best tight end in the draft, can help change that.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: The Bucs have a glaring need in the backfield and McCaffrey addressed that and then some. Not only is he a shifty runner, he’s a receiving threat and a dangerous return man. Put another way: He could go a long way in making life easier for Jameis Winston and the Bucs’ offense.

20. Denver Broncos

Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama: It’s hard to imagine Foster lasting this long, but the game-changing inside linebacker was dismissed from the combine for what he calls a “misunderstanding.” Either way, he would join a linebacker corps in Denver that includes Brandon Marshall, Von Miller and Shane Ray. This quartet will haunt the dreams of Derek Carr, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith.

There is no mistaking what Reuben Foster can do for Denver. USATSI

21. Detroit Lions

Haason Reddick, LB, TempleReddick is a former walk-on who showed up at Temple weighing 185 pounds. He blazed a 4.52 40 at the combine and that, coupled with a dominant 2016 season (9.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss), has NFL teams taking notice.

22. Miami Dolphins

Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky: Ryan Tannehill took a beating early in the 2016 season and Lamp would solidify the interior of an offensive line that struggled at times last season.

23. New York Giants

David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.): The Giants had just one skill-position player with a positive grade by the end of last season (surprise of surprises, it was Odell Beckham Jr.), which is a clear sign that they need to surround Eli Manning with more play-makers. Brandon Marshall has replaced Victor Cruz, and the expectation is that Sterling Shepard will improve, but an offense can never have enough athletic tight ends.

24. Oakland Raiders

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: The Raiders ranked 25th in pass defense last season and Humphrey is considered one of the most physical cornerbacks in the draft. His father, Bobby Humphrey, was a first-round draft pick of the Broncos in 1989.

Marlon Humphrey is a physical, attacking corner ... and yet another Bama guy.  USATSI

25. Houston Texans

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech: The Brock Osweiler era didn’t even last a year, and now the Texans are in a familiar predicament: Looking for their next franchise quarterback. And with Tony Romo retired, there is no Plan B -- unless that conversation includes, “Hey, how about we kick the tires on Jay Cutler and/or Colin Kaepernick?” Mahomes won’t be ready to play in 2017 but coach Bill O’Brien sounds like he’s willing to gamble on Tom Savage, at least for a season.

26. Seattle Seahawks

Garrett Bolles, OL, Utah: The Seahawks had just one lineman finish with a positive grade last season (Justin Britt). Bolles, arguably the most gifted tackle in this class, fills a glaring need, particularly for an offense that struggled to do what it does best: Run the ball.

27. Kansas City Chiefs

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: The Jamaal Charles era is over the and Knile Davis era never got off the ground. Cook is a threat as both a runner and a receiver and imagine the headaches he and Tyreek Hill will create for opposing defenses.

28. Dallas Cowboys

Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss: On the surface, this might seem like a ridiculous pick. Even digging deeper it might be laughable. But Engram could end up being the best tight end in this class and just as we saw with Tony Romo, Jason Witten won’t play forever. Why not give Dak Prescott all the weapons available while this offensive line is still intact, Ezekiel Elliott is still young and Dez Bryant is still one of the league’s best wide receivers? Yes, there are glaring needs on defense but will it matter if Dallas scores 40 points a game?

Say it to yourself: Evan Engram is the Cowboys’ next Jason Witten. USATSI

29. Green Bay Packers

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado: The Packers re-signed Davon House and have Damarious Randall, but Quinten Rollins has been a disappointment and the team let Micah Hyde walk in free agency. Awuzie can fill Hyde’s role and add some much-needed depth to a unit that struggled with injuries a season ago.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn: The Steelers desperately need a pass rusher and Lawson does that and then some. His playing style has drawn comparisons to LaMarr Woodley (early in his career, not after he signed that fat contract) and he would line up opposite another former SEC first-rounder, Bud Dupree. At Auburn last season, Lawson racked up nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, and has an explosive first step. He’s also strong as an ox, as evidenced by his combine-best 35 reps of 225 pounds.

31. Atlanta Falcons

T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin: The Falcons lacked a pass rush for much of 2016 (though you wouldn’t have known it to watch them terrorize Tom Brady for two-plus quarters in the Super Bowl) and Watt, whose stock has grown since the combine, adds that ability to a young defense that got better as the season progressed.

32. New Orleans Saints (from New England)

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU: The Saints’ defense ranked 30th last year, according to Football Outsiders, and the pass defense was measurably worse than the run-stopping counterparts. New Orleans got a pass rusher at No. 11 and looks to solidify the back end with the pick it got from the Patriots for Brandin Cooks.