What the Cowboys need to do this offseason

Carson Field, Sports Editor

Despite the high expectations, the Dallas Cowboys had a rough season in 2015. They finished the season 4-12 and only won one home game, which was less than Alabama won at AT&T Stadium this year. You read this correctly, Alabama. However, if they have a successful offseason, it will not be long before the Cowboys are back near the top of the NFC.

First of all, the Cowboys need a solid backup to Tony Romo. With Romo out most of the year, the Cowboys relied on Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden and Kellen Moore for the rest of the season. Some potential quarterbacks that the Cowboys could sign this offseason include Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow and Robert Griffin III. If the Cowboys sign a quarterback in the offseason, it would have to be someone similar to those three quarterbacks, who are all popular with the fans.

The other way that the Cowboys could get a quarterback is by drafting one. Some of the early-round prospects include Paxton Lynch, Jared Goff and Christian Hackenberg. In my opinion, none of these quarterbacks are worth drafting in the first round.

If the Cowboys want to draft a QB, they should wait a few rounds. Some potential late-round targets for the Cowboys include Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, Cardale Jones and Jake Coker. None of these will be immediately ready to start in the NFL, but the Cowboys could possibly develop these into elite quarterbacks.

With their first round pick, they should go defensive. Some possible front seven players that the Cowboys could target with the fourth-overall pick include defensive end Joey Bosa, defensive end DeForest Buckner, linebacker Jaylon Smith and linebacker Reggie Ragland. With cornerback Morris Claiborne being a free agent, some possible secondary players include cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves III. All of these players were very successful in college, and most experts think they will be great in the NFL.   

Of those top defensive prospects that the Cowboys could draft, my favorite is Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner. His talent has shown these past two seasons, as he was Second-Team All-Pac-12 in 2014, and was First-Team All-Pac-12 and won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year this year. Not only is he very talented, but his size is what sets him apart from the competition. He is 6’7” and weighs 287 lbs, which is four inches and 32 lbs bigger than the average defensive end.

Another position that needs help for the Cowboys is running back. The Cowboys would be smart to sign a somewhat big name running back this offseason. Some notable running backs that will be free agents this offseason include Matt Forte, Doug Martin, Lamar Miller and James Starks.

In my opinion, the running back that could help the Cowboys the most is Doug Martin. Martin had a great turnaround season in 2015, rushing for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns. With the Cowboys typically being a run-first offense, the Cowboys could use a star running back, even if it comes down to them having to deal Darren McFadden, who was not bad in 2015. With a Martin signing, the Cowboys could trade McFadden for possibly a solid defensive player or a draft pick.

The Cowboys have something to prove this offseason. While many people still call them America’s Team, if they keep losing, the fan base would shrink and the Cowboys could lose that much-envied title. However, if the Cowboys make the right moves, they could return to their winning ways relatively soon.