For Dallas Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett, the 2013 Draft is going to be Critical

Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett

In 2012, for the second consecutive season the Cowboys failed to win their division or make the playoffs. Owner Jerry Jones was not a happy camper at the end of the season and promised to make things uncomfortable around Valley Ranch.

Jerry fired Rob Ryan his defensive coordinator and many of us waited for the other foot to drop in the possible firing of Garrett. Some even speculated with Monte Kiffin coming in to handle the defense, Jerry would bring in Jon Gruden to replace Garrett. But it didn’t happen and Jason survived as coach for another season however it certainly feels like he is on borrowed time.

It’s pretty safe to say Jason will need to make the post season in 2013, to remain head coach of Dallas. There is a lot on the line for him and his career but fixing the Cowboys is not going to be easy either.

Free Agency an option? Jerry is Tapped Out:
Jason acknowledges that the offensive line must get better but the Cowboys find themselves in a salary cap quagmire so going out and getting a veteran player like they did in signing CB Brandon Carr last year, is not an option.

Jerry restructured salaries to barely slide in under the cap. There just isn’t money to make a big impact free agency signing.

Jason will have to address his team’s needs in the draft. He can’t just have a good draft, he must have a GREAT draft if he is going to continue as the Cowboys coach. And by the way, he only has six picks to do it with too as Jerry traded away a 7th round pick to pick up center Ryan Cook.

BPA? Forget that crap, Jason:
You have heard Jason, and others, talk of the BPA (Best Player Available) approach to the draft. That may work if your team has all the pieces in place but that’s not the case with the 2013 Cowboys or hardly any other team in the salary cap era of the NFL.

For example, let’s say WR Tavon Austin is on the board at #18 as the best available player. Be nice to have Austin, but Dallas really is fairly stocked with WRs. Jason needs to find offensive linemen who can give Romo time to throw to those WRs.

Jason will have to go into this draft very focused on players that can come in and fill a critical need right away.

Here are the draft needs and I will rank them pretty much by priority although he doesn’t necessarily have to pick them in this order.

1. Guard– The interior line is the weak link on the offense. Need a day 1 starter.
2. Safety– Need one that is strong in pass coverage. With Barry Church, they have an in the box safety.
3. DT – Going to a 4-3 defense, it would be nice to have a quick pass rushing defensive tackle in the rotation.
4. OT– With Doug Free at right tackle, Jason can’t feel good about keeping his job. Be nice to replace him this year.
5. RB– Felix Jones is unsigned but Jerry is already talking non sense about bringing him back. HERE Felix failed his conditioning test in the 2012 preseason and just is not healthy or durable. Step up Jason and get you a RB to backup Murray. It’s very likely you will need the backup to play at some point so don’t allow Jerry try to squeeze another few yards out of the tired banged up Felix.
6. Center– If possible, it would be good to pick up a center. Jason, you don’t want to rely on Costa and Cook to get it done in the middle again.

“Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice and I will be looking for another head coach job”.

“Create competition” Let’s keep it real.
When speaking of the draft, Jason likes to talk about “creating competition” among his players. To be frank that sounds so retro and out of date. This isn’t Boy Scout summer camp Jason, you are trying to build an NFL football team that hits on all cylinders on the field. Get the right guys in the right spots like pieces of a puzzle.

Enter the draft knowing exactly what and who you need to put together a championship team while avoiding distraction by highly ranked prospects on the board who won’t fit in the picture.

And one more tip. It may just save your job if you grow a pair and turn to Jerry and his “mini me” Stephen and say, “shut up. I’m trying to save my job here.” It will take the kind of courage that you haven’t displayed before but the reality is if you continue to let Jerry call all the shots, Jerry won’t be looking for a job at the end of the season, you will.

Good luck in the draft, Jason. You need to have your best day ever. Like that Thanksgiving Day in 1994 when you lead the Cowboys from behind in the second half to defeat the Green Bay Packers.

“Success is never final, but failure can be”. — Bill Parcells