Over the last five seasons the Dallas Cowboys have been hit or miss when it comes to mid round drafting. In 2011 the Cowboys had arguably their biggest hit in the mid rounds selecting Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray. Although he has had a fair share of injuries, Murray has a tremendous upside. He is a punishing back that can be the every down guy that this team has been missing since Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith left town.
While Murray was the best of them, only two other players have made significant contributions to this team. While Jerry Jones hit on Victor Butler and Orlando Scandrick, they are three players from three different draft classes. Hitting on one in five draft picks is part of the reason for the Cowboys struggles.
Zac Dysert, Quarterback, University of Miami (Ohio)
An aging Tony Romo isn’t going to last much longer without proper protection; however it is time that Jones and company start looking for their next quarterback. Zac Dysert should be available in the mid rounds, even though quarterbacks don’t seem to last long in the draft. Dysert moves well in the pocket and he seems to be more accurage on the move. This is very similar to Romo’s style and his body frame will allow him to take the punishment mobile quarterbacks take.
Dysert more often than not gets Ben Roethlisberger comparisons, but that may be due to the fact that he also attended University of Miami (Ohio). He is a big bodied quarterback who makes plays on the move. He could definitely be on the radar as an heir apparent to Romo.
Ryan Swope, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M University
There is no question that the health of wide receiver has been a huge question mark. With the annual hamstring issue with Miles Austin, it would seem as this is a need each and every season. The Cowboys have either drafted or signed Dwayne Harris, Danny Coale, Cole Beasley, and Anthony Armstrong in recent memory. Kevin Ogletree provided some production alongside Harris and Beasley, but this team is in need of immediate help.
The Cowboys should look no further than their own backyard. Swope accumulated 3,117 yards and 24 touchdowns during his tenure for the Aggies. He is a bigger version of Wes Welker, but it remains to be seen if he can have that same impact. He has an average of 12.9 yards per catch this season, which could be a safety valve for Romo apart from Jason Witten. Swope could also give them that slot presence that Ogletree failed to provide on a consistent basis.
Kyle Long, Offensive Tackle/Guard, University of Oregon
If I were to ask you which position on the offensive line were the bigger liability would you say tackle or guard? Doug Free received the fifth lowest grade as the starting right tackle. He was ineffective in protecting Romo, which could have been a big reason why he threw a league leading 19 interceptions. While Free caused issues, Mackenze Bernadeau and Nate Livings didn’t fare much better. This line is in need of an upgrade if Romo or Murray wants to remain on the field in 2013.
Kyle Long has the versatility to play a variety of roles for this team. Whether it is as a guard or tackle, Long could allow the front office to make some decisions to open up cap space. Many analysts don’t foresee many issues with Long’s game, having played for Chip Kelly he should have no issues getting downfield during blocks. If his name sounds familiar it should, Long is the brother of Chris Long and son of Hall of Famer Howie Long.
Mike Gillislee, Running Back, University of Florida
The running back position has been as inconsistent as any group for this team. However it hasn’t been just injuries that have set them back but the offensive line has played a major role in their struggles as well. DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones have both had their issues with staying on the field, not to mention the inexperience of Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner haven’t led to much success.
Gillislee could provide the change of pace to Murray that could be a very successful combo. He does have some speed to get through the line, provided this team could open up some holes. Gillislee has great vision and awareness coming out of the backfield, while also he is a good receiver. This could provide him a role as the third down back as well as spelling Murray.
Josh Evans, Safety, University of Florida
There very well could be a complete makeover at the safety position for the Cowboys in 2013. Gerald Sensabaugh has been released from the team and Barry Church is recovering from an Achilles injury that cost him his 2012 season. Will Church suffer a setback ability wise from his injury? One huge question that remains to be answered is if he can be the type of safety Kiffin wants in his defense. You shouldn’t expect Danny McCray to play anywhere but special teams and no one is quite sure about Matt Johnson.
Josh Evans is the “other” safety from the 2012 Gators defense. While he may not be the ball hawk that his counterpart Matt Elam is, he is well worth a late round pick. Evans plays more of the strong safety role, assisting in the run game but he isn’t a total liability in coverage.