Dallas Cowboys: How free agency will affect the draft

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stands on the field prior to their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stands on the field prior to their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys will have a lot of decisions to make prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. Here is how free agency can affect their plans.

The Dallas Cowboys have a ton of needs to address in this offseason. Finding the right players to help bolster this roster and solidify several key positions is a must. Dallas cannot fill all their needs in one offseason and they must prioritize what they view as important to the success of the 2018 season.

This could mean going after more free agents than usual or barely touching the 2018 free agent class entirely. Let’s explore some of the possibilities.

The Dallas Cowboys free agent class of 2017 consisted of Kellen Morre, Ronnie Hillman, Terrance Williams, Nolan Carroll, Byron Bell, Stephen Paea, Robert Blanton, Darren McFadden, Justin Durant, and Damontre Moore.

Now, objectively, that has to be one of the worst free agent classes in recent memory. The Dallas Cowboys have maintained a policy of not pursuing free agents on the market because of how costly they are and because they would like to focus on their own talent.

But it takes more than just a strong draft to win a Super Bowl, teams have to get lucky in free agency to take it all. Just look at the Philadelphia Eagles, they went out and signed players such as Patrick Robinson, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Alshon Jeffery, and Chris Long and you know what they all have in common?

They are productive. The Cowboys barely used any of their free agents effectively and as for the players the re-signed, $17 million could have been more wisely invested than giving it to Terrance Williams.

It takes a team to win a Super Bowl, not just one or two players. The 2018 free agent class is looking especially strong in some areas but absolutely hopeless in others. At quarterback, multiple stars will likely be on the move, so there will plenty of signal callers with new homes playing in September.

The running back market is pretty dry but a solid complementary back could be had for the right price. If the big name wide receivers are re-signed (Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Danny Amendola, Sammy Watkins) then there will be a lot of complementary players potentially landing big deals.

The more interesting names on that list will be players like Marqise Lee, John Brown, and Taylor Gabriel. The tight end position will have plenty capable veterans and could even boast names like Jimmy Graham or Tyler Eifert.

This is a fairly weak offensive tackle class this year in free agency but guards can be found at a premium. The same could be said for situational pass rushers and above average defensive ends.

The defensive line is very well represented in free agency this season and could see some pretty big names find new homes. There will be a number of veteran linebackers to choose from this year and for the most part, it is a pretty solid group.

The same can be said for cornerback so it is tough to say whether or not the Cowboys will look to take a corner or linebacker early in the 2018 draft. The market seems to dictate how draft prospects fall, as new teams acquire players via trade/free agency.

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Dallas could get lucky and have 7-10 teams focus on that position during the first round which would push top-tier prospects at other positions closer the Cowboys.

For prospects like Roquan Smith, Bradley Chubb, or Minkah Fitzpatrick this could have a profound effect as they could fall to the teens.

Imagine a scenario where Smith, the top defensive tackle prospects, possibly Denzel Ward, and James Washington are all sitting on the board while Dallas is on the clock.

An early run on quarterbacks would also help Dallas remain in their current spot instead of debating a potential move into the top ten.

The Cowboys have a ton of compensatory picks in the middle rounds, two fourth-round picks may be enough to move up a couple of spots. For a couple of seasons, the Cowboys have really stayed away from adding free agents in March that make waves. This year, however, there will be several players who can really help the team fill up some of the holes that plagued this roster last season.

Next: Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft (Final January Edition)

Acquiring a wide receiver, safety, and defensive tackle in free agency (at the right price) would bring a ton of value to a team that should use most of their draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. The Dallas Cowboys would be wise to patch some of their roster holes with reliable players prior to the draft and free agency would be a great place to start.