Dallas Cowboys: Post Free Agency Needs

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against Lamarcus Joyner #20 of the Los Angeles Rams, Robert Quinn #94 of the Los Angeles Rams and Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams in the second half at AT&T Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against Lamarcus Joyner #20 of the Los Angeles Rams, Robert Quinn #94 of the Los Angeles Rams and Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams in the second half at AT&T Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

With the Dallas Cowboys’ being mostly finished with free agency, it is time to reassess the needs of the team a few weeks before the NFL draft.

The Dallas Cowboys have made some moves in free agency this year, however, with all of the moves, there are still some needs heading into the draft in a few weeks. Most of what the Cowboys did in free agency allowed for a flexible, “best player available” draft. This is of course within context of some needs and depth on the team.

To review the signings, the Cowboys picked up wide receiver Randall Cobb, defensive ends Kerry Hyder Jr. and Robert Quinn, tight ends Jason Witten and Codey McElroy, defensive tackle Christian Covington, and safety George Iloka. All of which have concerns about health, except the tight ends. However, both have their own issues, Witten with age and McElroy with experience.

Sure, the Cowboys re-signed some valuable players which were not included above, but did well to fill some needs that the team had heading into the offseason. Cameron Fleming, Tavon Austin, Justin March-Lillard, Jamize Olawale, and L.P. Ladouceur all re-signed. That is a solid depth with a sprinkling of starting quality between the two groups.

With all of the injury concerns throughout many of the players, there are still some things the Cowboys can do in the draft to help the team and add the depth they need. Sure, there are still some moves the team can make in free agency, but let’s assume they will be fairly minor. So what does the team need? Let’s take a look.


Believe it or not the Cowboys still need a little help on offense. You can always use depth on the offensive line, so we won’t even touch this. But, looking beyond the simple answer, there is wide receiver, tight end, running back, and even quarterback to address. No, not all of it is starting quality players, but it doesn’t mean these aren’t needs.

Currently, Ezekiel Elliott is without a doubt the number one running back. Behind him, however, there are some questions. It doesn’t look like Rod Smith will return, which is fine, but Jamize Olawale, Jordan Chunn, and Darius Jackson are not exactly evoking of confidence in the depth many are looking for.

At wide receiver, the thought is even with the signing of Randall Cobb, there is still a need for a quick slot receiver. The Cowboys may decide this isn’t the need many think it is with Austin, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns, Reggie Davis, Noah Brown, Lance Lenoir, and Devin Smith all on the roster. I tend to side with needing a faster quy, especially looking at special teams.

At tight end, even with Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin likely the starters, there could be an addition just for looking ahead. Again, maybe not the same view from the coaches and front office, but also not out of the question.

A backup to Dak Prescott has looked to be a need dating back to last season, but as long as he stays healthy, they don’t have to go deep here. The Cowboys will certainly bring in at the minimum camp arms, and I would think the backup positions are up for grabs. I don’t think they will necessarily draft someone, but it will be interesting to see how they feel about the depth.

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Defense is where I believe the most needs lie with the Cowboys. Even with the signings on the defensive line, there is still a need for more pass rush and run defense up the middle. Defensive tackle should be the first look, but with the way Rod Marinelli values positions, defensive end could easily be the pickup. Either way, the defensive line needs something more, regardless of what happens with DeMarcus Lawrence.

At linebacker, there is less need, but finding someone to replace Sean Lee could be done this year, but could also wait. Depth is always something at linebacker the Cowboys could use, but give a year to someone to develop next to Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. The Cowboys have some decent depth here, but with Lee’s health history, linebacker is not out of the question.

In the secondary, cornerback depth is always something a team should look at. Even if you have two top flight corners, you can never have enough depth at corner. I am not sure they will look for a lot of depth at corner, but don’t let it be a surprise if they do in fact grab one.

However, safety is a much different situation. George Iloka is a solid player, but has had some serious injury concerns over the past few years. Jeff Heath is a liability at safety and an upgrade could be found early in the draft.

Defense seems to be the side of the ball a starter is needed. There is also openings for rotational players on the defensive line.

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Special Teams

Special teams is always hard to convince people a team needs to look at. Fans and even most teams don’t draft for special teams specifically. Maybe some teams will take a kicker, but as a whole it is not really something to look at.

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That being said, a speedy, young wide receiver who can be a threat in the return game would fill both needs. So whomever they draft should be able to do both. Most of the other players should play special teams and the ability to do so could be the difference why one player gets picked over another in later rounds.

At both kicking positions, the Dallas Cowboys could easily roll into the 2019 season with the status quo. However, bringing in a place kicker and opening up the competition wouldn’t be unexpected to be honest. While punter seems safe right now, after last offseason, it is hard to assume anything on special teams.

Looking Forward

I am not saying the Dallas Cowboys have all of these needs covered to be a good team. I am saying there are some things the Cowboys could look at. The thirty visits and Dallas Day workouts show that line of thinking. Safety and defensive line are deep positions the Cowboys are bringing in.

A signing or two before the draft could change the way they look at the draft itself. Another running back could allow for even more flexibility later in the draft. Whatever moves the Cowboys make, if any, will only allow the best player available philosophy to be even more of a reality.

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Sit back and relax, enjoy the mock drafts, the player analysis and over-analysis until the end of April. Pay close attention to the visits and how they perform. Until then, go Cowboys and it is officially draft season.

  • Published on 04/02/2019 at 11:00 AM
  • Last updated at 04/02/2019 at 09:55 AM