Baldinger: Cowboys will miss playoffs, regret passing on RB

We all have our regrets, and when it comes to the NFL draft, all 32 franchises have made some picks that they certainly would love to take back.

Following the conclusion of the 2015 NFL Draft, though, NFL Media analyst Brian Baldinger thinks one team in particular -- the Dallas Cowboys -- should be kicking itself for a missed opportunity.

"With a third-round pick, I was praying they would go get a running back because that running back room can't replace what they lost when DeMarco Murray left (for the Philadelphia Eagles). There were (11) running backs drafted from No. 91 on down, guys like Buck Allen and Jay Ajayi. There were a bunch of guys they could have taken and I think they're going to regret it," Baldinger said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" Tuesday. "I don't believe the Cowboys are as good as they were when they won the NFC East last year. I don't believe the Cowboys are going to make the playoffs as a result.

"... This was a major misgiving by Jerry Jones and the entire Cowboys organization. They will rue the day they didn't draft a running back."

That's a bold prediction for a team that was, as Baldinger points out, essentially a play away from advancing to the NFC Championship Game last season.

Murray's departure for Philadelphia has been one of the most talked about moves of the offseason. Dallas signed Darren McFadden this offseason, and Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle are also in the mix at running back, but replacing Murray's production will be a huge challenge for the trio. Despite that, former NFL Media's Charley Casserly thinks the Cowboys landed a valuable star in the second round who will give the defense enough of a boost to keep the team atop the heap as a contender in the NFC.

"Randy Gregory is a top-five pass rusher in any NFL draft," Casserly said. "Last year they had 28 sacks total on that defense, 12.5 from the defensive end spot, but it took five guys to get that 12.5. This guy has the chance to get you 10 sacks in a year, he has that kind of ability."

There's little question that a surprisingly solid defensive unit from a season ago was improved through the draft with the selections of Gregory and first-rounder Byron Jones. Will that be enough to offset the regression expected in the running game, though?

Baldinger says it won't be enough and that a draft decision to bypass the running back position will come back to haunt the Cowboys in 2015.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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