Dallas Cowboys: Assessing Their 2021 Offseason Needs

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.Dallas Cowboys At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 13
Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.Dallas Cowboys At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 13 /

Dallas Cowboys Defense

The defense has a lot more needs across the defense than they do on offense. The first position needed is a true 1-technique defensive tackle, and maybe an upgrade at the gaggle of 3-technique as well. The Cowboys severely struggled stopping the run in 2020 and never created pressure up the middle either. This all starts with the defensive tackle position and while the draft may be a little light at the position, free agency is strong and a mix of both could be in the cards for Dallas.

Staying on the defensive line, defensive end is another need right now. The Cowboys have DeMarcus Lawrence and, as long as he is on the field, Randy Gregory – and that is about it. Aldon Smith started well but disappeared as the season wore on, and the Cowboys struggled to generate much pass rush outside of the top two guys. The draft has some solid situational pass rushers who could help and it wouldn’t cost an early pick to get one.

The secondary is a mess for the Cowboys. Should they decide to let Chidobe Awuzie walk, they could need two cornerbacks. Jourdan Lewis is probably (and should be) moving on, and while Trevon Diggs looks to be the real deal, the rest of the cornerback play is a huge question mark. The Cowboys could easily grab one of the top two corners in the draft and still would need someone to play the slot or be a third outside corner should they move on from Anthony Brown.

Safety is another position that needs huge upgrades. Free safety is easily the biggest need of the two and for all the flash Wilson displayed, he is still a liability in man coverage. A true ball hawk who can cover would be a huge boost to the defense and should they also improve the pass rush up front, would help solidify this defense sooner rather than later.

This leaves the linebacker spots the final group on defense. If the Cowboys can get good play on the line and solid coverage on the back, linebacker becomes less of a need than if they don’t. The Cowboys could still upgrade the third linebacker spot, and should the team decide to move on from Jaylon Smith for cap reasons, they might need to find his replacement. Off-ball linebacker isn’t the most important position on defense, but a solid starter in the middle rounds might be a smart grab.

Depth is needed all over the defense and regardless of who they keep or let go, just about every position group could stand to add more talent. The defense has been a problem for the Cowboys for a long time. A new scheme may help, but talent is still lacking and it shows up on film often.