Mock Draft: Early Predictions for the Dallas Cowboys

Jessica Montoya CogginsContributor IOctober 16, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 14: Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 and quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys look on from the field during a timeout against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

After that disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys fell to 2-3 and sit at the bottom of the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s becoming clear that the New York Giants are potentially on their way to taking the NFC East, and every week it seems less and less likely that Dallas can get an NFC Wild Card slot. 

While this sounds like a gloomy outlook for the year it is topical to go ahead and look to the 2013 Mock Draft, and positions that the Cowboys would want to target. Again, this season is by no means over, but there’s no harm in looking ahead.

Let’s start with the tackles. Doug Free and Tyron Smith have been disappointing. Together they are tied for the most penalties in the entire league. Though Jason Garrett has threatened to take measures to limit their play time, the financial investment in them is just too high. However, in the draft it would be a prudent move for the Cowboys to target a tackle. 

Another glaring issue the Cowboys have comes from the linebacker position. Anthony Spencer is a free agent and was out against Baltimore due to injury, and Victor Butler has been struggling in the role. Chicago, in particular, exposed his weaknesses on the run defense.

DeMarcus Ware is obviously still a huge asset for the Cowboys, and he has recorded six sacks this season. However, Ware is 30. It’d be a good strategy for the Cowboys to start looking for more depth at the position.

A huge source of inconsistency this season has been the offensive line. They fared better with the run game against Baltimore, but just the week before the Ravens allowed over 200 running yards from Kansas City. Against Chicago they only rushed for 41 yards.

And the fact also remains that Tony Romo has been battered the last three games. He’s often rushed in the pocket (which lead to some of his bad decisions) and has had few opportunities since their season opener against the Giants to throw deep passes. 

Romo has been limited with the deep passes, but it’s also not like he’s having much success with his tight ends or wide receivers (with the exception of Dez Bryant). Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree were virtually silent against Baltimore.

Obviously, no rookie is every going to replace the production from Jason Witten, who has always been Romo’s favorite target. However with his recent injury and his lack of production, it should be noted that the Cowboys have come to rely so heavily on Witten that when he’s not a major member of the offense, the team sputters. The Cowboys need a reliable backup at the tight end position. 

The million dollar question at the end of the season, obviously, falls to Tony Romo. Against the Chicago Bears he had a miserable game with five interceptions. Two were directly on him. The final minute of their game against Baltimore, where they recovered an on-side kick and seemed to be moving the ball down the field, ended in disaster when Romo failed to take care of the clock.

This is hardly the first time a Cowboys game has been decided in the last minute (and not in a good way for Dallas). The quarterback situation for the 2013 draft is pretty anemic and by all accounts it does seem that the Cowboys will likely stick with Romo. Though it wouldn’t be a huge surprise for the team to draft a stable backup quarterback.