Dallas Cowboys: 3 comprehensive steps to rebuild the defense

Gerald McCoy, DT, Free Agent Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Gerald McCoy, DT, Free Agent Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Will McClay, VP Player Personnel, Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: James D. Smith via USA TODAY Sports
Will McClay, VP Player Personnel, Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: James D. Smith via USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Draft Plan

Trade Back in the First Round

This won’t be the first time, nor will it be the last time you hear this but it is something the team needs to seriously consider. The Cowboys are currently in line for the fourth overall pick in a QB-laden draft class. This alone should be compelling for teams to want to trade with the Cowboys in order to grab their franchise QB. However, that shouldn’t be the only reason the Cowboys consider trading down.

Every year there is a buzz about a certain quarterback potentially landing in the top 10 of a draft because a team will trade up to get him. However, if the last two years are any indication, teams in the teens are able to sit patiently and grab their guy without feeling the need to sacrifice other picks. This year could be different because of the number of QB-needy teams in the teen range but only time will tell how true that turns out to be.

Perhaps the biggest motivating factor for the Cowboys to trade back is because of the defensive class as a whole. Unlike years past, the defensive talent at the top of this year’s draft doesn’t compare. There isn’t a clear cut edge or interior defensive lineman prospect that’s an undeniable top 10 prospects. The verdict is still out on whether cornerbacks like Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II are worthy of top 10 picks. (They likely are, we just haven’t progressed that far into the evaluation cycle just yet)

Of the teams currently lined up to pick in the top 10, three are likely guarantees to pick in a quarterback: the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Washington Football Team. Of the remaining seven, two could very likely land a quarterback if they fell in love with one: the Carolina Panthers and the Detroit Lions. That’s five potential quarterback selections in the top 10 alone.

Then you have teams like Chicago, New England, and San Francisco who are likely trying to move up or are potential candidates to move up in the draft for a quarterback. Seven quarterbacks in the top 10 feel extremely unrealistic but it does shed light on how many teams need a quarterback and how good this class could become.

So if the Cowboys are conveniently sitting at pick number four, they could be field offers from five teams looking to move up and grab their guy while only falling as low as three picks. The return from the transaction would be immense likely consisting of a future first-round pick and a few late day-two, day-three picks which could all be used on stockpiling defensive talent at the right value.

However, what if the Cowboys weren’t trading back just to help a QB-needy team grab their guy? What if they kept trading back in hopes of accumulating more picks late in the first round and early on day-two?

I previously mentioned the amount of QB-needy teams at the top of the draft, but what about teams in need of actual defensive players? In the top 10, the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons are most likely to draft a defensive player at their current position. The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers are very likely to draft offensive linemen to surround their franchise quarterbacks with.

However, of these four teams the case could be made for the Eagles to grab their WR1 after all that has transpired this season, and as previously mentioned Detroit could be in the market for a QB if they wanted to ship Matthew Stafford and start fresh from the beginning.

Then looking at teams like Miami, Denver, New England, Minnesota, and Baltimore, there is a good bet four of these five picks result in offensive players, whether that be offensive linemen or wide receivers with both classes being relatively deep once again.

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There could be a record number of offensive talent selected in the top 15 this upcoming draft, which likely means the Cowboys can be content drafting a great defensive player at somewhere like pick 14 or pick 16. The number of picks the Cowboys could obtain from moving that far back could give the team ample resources to find productive depth they didn’t have this season.

You don’t want to get greedy with the number of picks in your hand, but having more does give you more opportunities to strike gold in the lottery. Instead of Caleb Farley, a grouping of Kwity Paye and Shaun Wade could have a more profound positive impact.

But it’s just an idea….

Must Read. Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft: Dallas Trades Back (December Edition). light

dark. Next. Moving on from Tyron Smith would not be wise

As seen earlier in the season, a solid defense is more than enough for the Dallas Cowboys to win games with Dak Prescott starting at quarterback. With most of the team currently dealing with injuries, a productive season with intense rehab and a preseason could do this team wonders within the span of 365 days. Hopefully, they make the right moves this offseason otherwise fans are in for another long season!