To me, and a lot of other NFL fans, this weekend is very close to holiday status. It is the weekend of the NFL Player Draft. If it didn't happen on a weekend then I'd have to burn a couple of vacation days, because I'm not about to miss it.
This year, the Cowboys had some glaring needs they needed to fill. They finished a respectable 13-3 last year, but without some position upgrades they're not going to be able to go further (and not going further is simply not an option).
The most obvious need was in the cornerback position. It was just too easy to pass against the Cowboys last year. The Cowboys traded for "Pacman" Jones last week. Jones is a very good cornerback, but he is still suspended and no one knows if he'll be reinstated to play this year or not. That means cornerback was still a need going into the draft.
Diring the off-season, the Cowboys lost running back Julius Jones. I don't think too many of us were sorry to see him go, but that did create a need for a back-up running back. Marion Barber will be the starter, but his bruising running style dictates a need for someone to back him up and very possibly share playing-time at the position.
Last week, the Cowboys traded linebacker Ayodele and tight end Fason to the Miami Dolphins for the 100th pick in this year's draft. The linebacker position was already filled with the earlier acquisition of Zack Thomas, but that meant we needed a quality back-up at tight end.
It looks like the Cowboys were able to fill all three needs with their first three picks in the 2008 draft. Here are the players they drafted:
22. Felix Jones (running back) University of Arkansas
25. Mike Jenkins (cornerback) University of South Florida
61. Martellus Bennett (tight end) Texas A and M University
It is said that a team must either draft for need or draft the best player available. The Cowboys obviously drafted for need this year, but I believe they were able to get three extremely good players. All three should be able to contribute to the Cowboys effort this coming year.
Today, the Cowboys have the 92nd and 100th picks of the draft. They should be able to get two more very good players, especially since they no longer have to draft for need.
Of course you never know how the draft was until the season starts, but right now it looks like the Cowboys have upgraded the running back, cornerback, tight end and linebacker positions. I certainly hope so.