By Rafael VilaSpecial to CSNwashington.comWhen we want to know more about what is going on with the Dallas Cowboys, we call on Rafeal Vela, the editor and lead writer at Cowboys Nation. Here he gives us his take on what the Cowboys will be looking for next week in the NFL draft.The Cowboys bought in bulk during the free agent period, adding seven players to a roster which is strong in some areas and very weak in others. The Cowboys have eight potential names in play for their first pick at 14, but I think that three positions factor into their thinking. The team's thinnest unit is the defensive line. Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher and Kenyon Coleman were signed at low cost one week into last year's camp. They played down to their salaries. Spears has disappointed, never living up to his draft slot (18th overall in '05). Coleman did a second tour in a Cowboys uniform and underwhelmed. Hatcher had strong games in September but injured a calf and lost his burst. He's always been injury prone.The lack of talent at DE puts Fletcher Cox high on Dallas' radar. I've heard the Cowboys have interest in LSU's Michael Brockers, though he may be destined for Carolina, who has not hidden its admiration for him. Safety is another spot the team has tried in vain to fill since Darren Woodson's back gave out in '04. Mark Barron may be the pick, though there is concern that he's a strong safety type, where the team needs a free safety who can ballhawk from deep centerfield. Barron may be better than Roy Williams, but the fear is that he could be closer to Williams than to Earl Thomas or Ed Reed.Many Cowboys fans are not sold on the two guard signings, Mackenzie Bernadeau and Nate Livings. The belief is that Dallas might draft a David DeCastro or a Cordy Glenn if they're the best available players on the team's board. In the 2nd, the Cowboys will again look for offensive line depth and to perhaps tap the deep cornerback class. Brandon Boykin, Jamell Fleming and Casey Hayward are possible targets. Dallas may also look for an outside linebacker to take Anthony Spencer's place. Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis is the prime target, though Dallas might explore a trade up if Shea McClellin fell into the early 2nd. Virginia's Cam Johnson could also fill that need. If Dallas passed on DeCastro and Glenn, it may look at Kevin Zeitler or Amini Silatolu in the 2nd.In the later rounds, Dallas will look to fill the spots not filled in the 1st and 2nd, and may also look for a 3rd receiver to challenge for Laurent Robinson's vacated spot. Marvin Jones, Marvin McNutt, Brian Quick and Juron Criner fit the team's big-target profile, though Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles may be a target if they look for a smaller type.
Enemy intel: A look at the Cowboys' draft needs
April 18, 2012, 10:36 am