As the Dallas Cowboys offseason is ramping up and mock drafts will start rolling in, let’s look at a basic needs list and how they could fill them.
With the Pro Bowl over, the senior bowl in the books, and preparations for the combine are ramping up, let’s take an overview of the needs for the Dallas Cowboys. Without going into names to fill holes, there are some needs the Cowboys will look to fill during both in free agency and the draft.
Before we get into the needs, a potential tip we can look at to give us some idea of where they are looking will be the interviews they just had at the senior bowl and at the combine. While it is common for teams to interview all positions and some of the bigger names that could drop to them, the names aren’t as key as the positions they focus on.
Who they decide to resign will also be a key factor in how they approach free agency and the draft as well. If they let go of Cole Beasley for instance, wide receiver will bump up a little higher. We will make some assumptions here, but this could change a little.
One of the common assumptions at this point is that Cole Beasley will not be back on the roster next year. With the probable signing of Demarcus Lawrence, a potential extension for Dak Prescott, and some of the other free agents they have, Cole could be a cap casualty. So let’s keep that for now.
That would mean at least one more wide receiver could be grabbed and most likely this will come in the draft. It would be cost friendly to the team. If you aren’t going to re-sign Cole, then odds are you are not going to sign a free agent. That means more than likely a receiver in the draft. This will be a bigger need if they also do not re-sign Tavon Austin.
Assuming they also do not re-sign Geoff Swaim and they potentially cut Rico Gathers, tight end will also become a need. This free agency class is fairly weak, so this could also be a draft move. They will have Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin. While fans may want more, Jarwin stepped up late in the season, so an early tight end may not be as high of a need as many think.
At running back and fullback, Jamize Olawale is a free agent, but should be able to be re-signed at a cost effective price. That leaves running back with Ezekiel Elliott and Darius Jackson with Rod Smith as a free agent. Regardless of what they do with Smith, a later round running back will most likely be grabbed. They still have Jordan Chunn on the practice squad, but it shouldn’t be a surprise of a running back at some point.
At quarterback, Dak Prescott is the starter, however after him there is only Cooper Rush and Mike White. It is doubtful they bring in a veteran behind Dak, but camp arms will be grabbed, but there will most likely not be a quarterback in free agency or in the draft itself. Undrafted free agents is where the arms will come from.
That leaves us with the offensive line. Assuming the rumors about Travis Frederick being healthy for next season, there are no free agents this season. That does not mean there isn’t some need at tackle and guard, but with a healthy Travis, there will most likely not be much early in the draft or big name in free agency. Probably some depth, but this is not the need some think, unless health problems arise.
That means the needs here are wide receiver, tight end, running back, and then some depth on the line if available. This will probably not be where the Cowboys will spend a lot in free agency, although could have a need filled in the draft at either wide receiver or tight end earlier than later. Who they resign will help make this a little more clear.
Defense will be the side of the ball the Cowboys could make the most moves in free agency. Of course signing Demarcus Lawrence is the top priority. The big needs will be dependent on who they keep or let go off at defensive tackle. Only Darian Thompson is a free agent in the secondary. This doesn’t mean they won’t look for an upgrade, but they don’t have to worry about resigning anyone there.
Looking at the secondary, safety has been a need for a while now. This is probably where the Cowboys will look in free agency with the names of Landon Collins, Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, and Lamarcus Joyner are on everyone’s radar. Who they sign will be debated, but with this year’s safety class, odds favor a free agent rather than a drafted player.
At cornerback, as Amy Trask says, you can never have enough quality corners. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if they grab one in the middle rounds of the draft, although it also shouldn’t surprise anyone if they don’t grab anyone. This is not the pressing need that safety and the next group is.
Speaking of the next group the defensive line is a little bit of a mess. Demarcus will be a priority in signing, but defensive tackle could take a massive hit in free agency. David Irving, Caraun Reid, Datone Jones, and Daniel Ross are all free agents. So far the Cowboys have interviewed a few tackles during the Senior Bowl, so this could be a highly drafted position. We all know Rod Marinelli hasn’t been a big fan of big tackles, but this could be the season that changes, especially after the Rams playoff game.
That leaves defensive tackle and safety as the most pressing needs. Linebacker seems to many pretty safe, but with Damien Wilson and Justin March-Lillard both free agents, another linebacker could be grabbed in either free agency or the draft. They could resign Wilson for depth, and if they do in fact let go of Sean Lee, Linebacker may become a bigger need than many are talking about.
Re-signing L.P. Ladoceur will be a top priority of the Cowboys in the offseason. They will most likely re-sign him leaving us looking at punter and kicker. It is fairly safe to say Chris Jones will return as the punter. Where there could be some movement is at kicker. Brett Maher did an okay job this season, but did miss some kicks and will most likely have competition in training camp.
Drafting a kicker in the late rounds should not be a surprise for anyone. They will have some kickers at rookie camp and training camp either way, and there will more than likely be a competition for the job. Maher is not safe, nor should he be. He might return, but do not be surprised if there is another kicker next season.
The interesting position will be kick returner. Depending on what they do at wide receiver, whoever they grab in the draft will more than likely also be looked at for kick returns. Austin did fine when healthy, but beyond him, the return game was anemic at best. This means that whoever they look at for wide receiver will be a speed guy, someone who can be a threat to return kicks.
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So far, few clues have been given at what the Cowboys will do this offseason. Defensive tackle and wide receiver seem to be two of the top positions for the draft. Without a first round pick, watching how they handle free agency should signal how they feel about position groups in the draft, and how they feel the draft will shake out.
They have stated they do plan to re-sign some of their players, with Lawrence being the top priority. While they have said they do not plan on spending a lot on outside players in free agency, safety is probably on the table and will be the major move. We will cover who fits over the next few months, but I think everyone believes safety is a free agency move.
The combine will also answer some questions as players will rise and fall, teams will “fall in love” with certain players, and interviews will take place. Kellen Moore and Kris Richard should have a lot of input into both the draft and free agency so what we know historically about the Cowboys may in fact change, and we will welcome it.
- Published on 01/29/2019 at 18:02 PM
- Last updated at 01/29/2019 at 13:02 PM