By Ryan Corbin
With the NFL Draft less than 55 days away, the question on everyone’s mind is the same: which rookies will be donning the silver and blue come late July in Oxnard, CA? While some suggest that an infusion of defensive talent is an absolute necessity for the team, others argue that the method of best player available, or BPA, is the way to go. While both sides have valid points to support their arguments, the case to draft good players no matter the position, should always emerge victorious in the War Room.
It comes as no surprise that the public outcry for a young and talented edge rusher or a physical cover corner is at an all-time high. In fact, there shouldn’t be a Cowboys fan anywhere that doesn’t agree that those needs should be addressed in some capacity going forward. As has been the case under the Jason Garrett regime in years prior, the Cowboys will undoubtedly fill roster holes through free agency with average to solid players that will hold cap-friendly contracts. The Jones family, specifically Stephen, have shown a reluctance to spend big money in free agency over the past few years.
This leaves the draft as the only other way in which Dallas can acquire high-end talent. With this being the final lifeline in the talent acquisition business, the Cowboys must trust Will McClay (Director of College and Pro Personnel) and his team of scouts to find players who can not only play, but play well. Because of this, the Cowboys cannot afford to draft solely for need. Doing so could have disastrous consequences for the competitive longevity of the team. One needs to look no further than the 1994 (Shante Carver), 2001 (Quincy Carter) and even 2009 (12 players selected-six of which made the team) drafts where need was placed above the importance of BPA.
So, when you find yourself sitting around the TV on that Thursday night decked out in your #21 jersey, remember to ask yourself if the running back position was the most pressing need for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2016 draft, or, was Ezekiel Elliott simply the best player available? The question posed is reminiscent of an old “Bill Parcellsism” in which Parcells told the media, “Whatever works is right” when addressing some issues with play calling. It might be that the same can be said for the NFL Draft as well. However, although an inexact science, the profits yielded by drafting for BPA are often too high to ignore.
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