Dallas Cowboys: Looking Ahead


Now that the Dallas Cowboys have been eliminated, there are a few things to look forward to over the next few weeks and months.

The Dallas Cowboys have been officially eliminated from the NFL playoffs after the loss to the New York Jets. With an homage to Star Wars, the next few weeks and months could bring A New Hope. The 2015 season not only didn’t go as planned, it was one of the worst in recent memory for the Dallas Cowboys. There are a few things to look forward to in the last two games and even in the months ahead.

First, for the next two weeks as the Dallas Cowboys close out their season, it is time to see what the Cowboys have on the roster in terms of talent. Everyone knows that the Cowboys will most likely be in the market for a backup quarterback. The evaluation of talent however, will be much more than just the quarterback position as players like rookie linebacker Mark Nzeocha will most likely get more playing time as the whole roster will get evaluated.

It isn’t just about the rookies either, if defensive end Greg Hardy gets two and a half sack in the next two games he will get his bonus, which then will beg the question if the Cowboys bring him back. The evaluation of veterans will be done from almost every position, from running back to cornerback to wide receiver. Listening to Jerry Jones, it sounds like almost everyone has something to prove.

There are, of course, players that will be safe such as Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, and others. While it irks many fans I am sure, Jason Garrett and staff are safe since they are in their first year of their extensions, and with all the injuries, and the love Jerry has for them, it is almost assured they will be back another year. Although, truth be told, they should be on the hot seat. Come on, Brandon Weeden just won a game with the Houston Texans.

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The real fun will be in the upcoming months with free agency and the draft. Many questions surround this Dallas team. While much of the core is the same from last season’s deep run in the playoffs, it is almost certain there will be some roster churning. With a potential top five pick in the draft, the Dallas Cowboys should be able to add an immediate impact player.

The quarterback position will be the most publicly looked at. It is fairly bad draft for quarterbacks as there seems to be only three or four first round talents in this draft. There could be another stop gap at backup as the free agent class is slightly deeper than the draft.

If I were a betting man, I would say the Cowboys’ scouting staff will be at the college bowl games watching Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook, and Christian Hackenburg. It might be wise for fans to watch these kids as well, since they could be the future Dallas Cowboys.

There are other positions that will be heavily watched as well. The Dallas Cowboys could/should upgrade the RB position either through the draft or in free agency. College players like Ezekiel Elliot and Derrick Henry will be highly touted as first round talents. I like Elliot as a workhorse type running back for years to come, but Henry could add depth if the Cowboys keep running back Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar returns.

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The defense is actually better than many think this season. While turnovers are a rare sight for the Cowboys, the team ranks in the top 10 on defense. It is assumed by many experts that the Dallas Cowboys will look toward cornerback and safety as there could be upgrades had in the offseason.

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The cornerback market in free agency is weak as the top free agent looks to be either Leon Hall from Cincinnati and Sean Smith from Kansas City. The safety market is a little better with Eric Berry and Reggie Nelson leading the way, but it isn’t that much better.

The draft isn’t great at safety and there are almost no first round talents. But the cornerback class looks quite deep and the Dallas Cowboys could look to the draft to bolster their secondary.

The offense beyond quarterback is where most of the churning could be done. With Chaz Green and La’el Collins looking pretty good for rookies, there might not be a ton of turnover on the line.

However, it is the wide receivers and tight ends that could see the most change. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten aren’t going anywhere, and I would venture to say neither is Cole Beasley. After that, almost no one else looks safe, Gavin Escobar is a fantastic blocker, but hasn’t been what people thought he would be in the passing game.

There is a ton of talent with 3rd and 4th round grades in the draft at wide receiver and the free agent market isn’t bad either with legit #2 receivers like Alshon Jeffery, Andre Holmes, and Marvin Jones all likely to hit the market. With a ton of mid round talent in the draft at tight end and a fairly deep free agent market, it shouldn’t be a surprise if there is some turnover at this position.

So in the next few weeks, both with the Cowboys’ games and bowl season, there will be a lot of eyes on the Cowboys roster and the upcoming draft. The recovery of some players will play a part in who the Cowboys look to target, however, it is assured that there will be some churning of the roster.

Next: Cowboys: What to Expect From Kellen Moore

The simple fact is this team isn’t very good as a whole, and knowing Jerry Jones, he isn’t happy with where this team is at. Don’t be surprised if Jerry starts dealing early and often to acquire more draft picks to bolster the roster. It should be an interesting few months.