General Manager for a Day

The Big Cigars called on the editor of Update.com with a somewhat less than brilliant idea for an article. I always love the notion of the two-martini lunch set making an agenda for the work weary journalists.

Needless to say my editor, always a self-promoter agreed. So here is what the ivory tower has in mind for you, the trusted readers of Update.com.

As the new general manager of the Dallas Cowboys I am entrusted with this years draft and free agency. There are decisions to be made and make them I will.

My first move is to contact Kevin Hardy's agent and get back to the negotiating table. Jerry Jones is famous for the saying ‘Keep your powder dry,' and that is just what has been occurring with Hardy. The team has taken a slow pace with this outstanding linebacker. But time is a wastin' and Hardy immediately improves the defense.

The ability to blitz from the linebacker spot is a bonus this team hasn't enjoyed in a long time. Hardy's brings this to the table and makes a potent defense even that more fearsome.

While I like Jeremiah Trotter, the price tag of this former Eagles player is far too high. The production of Dat Nguyen last season was not significantly different than Trotter. And with the addition of Hardy, Marcus Steele can play some middle linebacker as well. The cap is still a concern and the results don't justify making this dollar commitment on Trotter.

April 20th is the NFL draft and I have come prepared with a list of college players I would like to select. Consider this a mock draft since Jerry will not unseat himself from that $500.00 leather chair in the War Room.

In the first round I am conflicted. I want Quentin Jammer and feel he is the best-suited player for the team. I would consider moving up to get him but the groans from the readership has convinced me to wait this one out. If he doesn't fall to #6 this is my plan.

I would take Phillip Buchanon. While some might feel that is a tad too high, and others are scratching their heads as to why pass on Roy Williams, I have a sound reason for this action. It all comes down to what is best for the team.

Roy Williams out of OU may be the best player on the board. But taking a playmaker has been my mantra since the Cowboys finished at 5-11 and were awarded the 6th over-all pick. He fits the bill but so does Buchanon.

Bryant Westbrook, the cornerback signed this off-season has skills. He timed at 4.38 in the 40 when he came to Dallas seeking work. But that is straight-ahead time. Can he make the cuts required of an NFL cornerback? That is the burning question.

Roy gives you a player that will be greatness. Yet if chosen he will certainly play safety. If Westbrook does not recover to pre-injury form, where does that leave you? Dallas constructed his contract in the event he doesn't. Shouldn't the team make a contingency in the draft based on the same criteria? You bet.

Buchanon is smaller than I would like but he is an exceptional cover man. He can man-up on a receiver, which allows the defense to do so much. I harken you back to the DOD. Days of Deion.

If Westbrook is healthy then you have a tandem at corner that will be respected and feared. If he needs to be moved to safety then you still have a pair of corners in Buchanon and Edwards that will be terrific.

Westbrook is over 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. He hits like a freight train and his experience would allow him to make the transition from corner to safety with ease.

Edwards was penciled in as a safety at one time and his cover skills are evident. He could be moved if Westbrook proves to be what he was before the Achilles injury. Edwards would need to add some bulk in the weight room but a rotation at free safety is possible with Tony Dixon and Lynn Scott.

Worst-case scenario is to bring back Teague for a reduced rate. In any event the defensive backfield will be a positive that won't require schemes to disguise its weakness.

Round two finds me selecting Javon Walker. There is but one Michael Irvin, but the big receiver out of Florida State would make a terrific target for Quincy and add some size to the receiver corps. With the reports from the Ranch that Wide Receiver Randall Williams is now carrying 230 pounds yet has not lost any of his sub 4.4 speed, with the pick of Walker the team will have people to attack the middle of the field.

I am by nature a conservative guy but with my third round pick I am going to roll the dice. Character issues are a concern to me but talent is also at a premium.

Jerramy Stevens is my selection in the third round. The tight end from the University of Washington is a load and has the type of ability to be another Tony Gonzales.

Can he solve his off-field problems? That remains to be seen. But if he can, this player will define what the offense will do for years to come by taking pressure off the receivers and challenging the seams of the defense.

Round four finds me taking Pig Prather out of Mississippi State. This is a good spot to take a safety since the position could be thin on the team. He ain't Roy, but he'll do.

P.J. Alexander from Syracuse is my fifth round pick. He plays center with size and ability. Playing tackle in college shows his athleticism and his experience at center will be a safeguard in the event Matt Lehr is really Clay Shiver in disguise.

In round six I take Brett Keisel a defensive end out of BYU. He could be a nice pick-up this late on day two. John Duckett a linebacker from Virginia with the first compensatory pick and Will Bartholomew, a fullback out of Tennessee rounds out my sixth.

With my last pick I would take Steve Smith from Oregon. He is a generic defensive back that can swing to either corner or safety.

I would then make a push to bring back Mike Myers and get Brandon Noble to sign his contract. This should set the team for the 2002/03 season and it's just a waiting game until training camp.

Of course all this would be done after I hired a secretary with legs that would shame the Pope. After all, I am the General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys. At least for today.

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