The NFL Draft is one week closer so that means another 7 round positional mock draft. (If you will) This week, we are covering the all-important safety class. The Dallas Cowboys signed two safeties to one-year contracts, so while a veteran is present, drafting reinforcements will likely be a necessity.
Dallas, along with the cornerback and offensive tackle rooms, has lost a member of its starting safety group. The casualty was former sixth-round pick Xavier Woods. Woods signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings. A lot has been made about the deal he received, specifically about whether the Cowboys should’ve paid him said contract, but there seems to be a new defensive era in Dallas and Woods just had no place in that lineup.
How does the safety room look now? The team signed Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal to one-year contracts. Both are former players of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and both are coming off of season-ending injuries or underwhelming seasons. This is a big reason why both players have an average annual salary of fewer than $6 million.
We look at 7 different safeties found in 7 different rounds of the draft for the Dallas Cowboys
The team, however, already had second-year safety Donovan Wilson. The former Aggie had a knack for generating turnovers from several different alignments and was a bright spot on an otherwise poor defense last season.
With Neal expected to transition between box safety and linebacker, we could very easily see all three players on the field during passing situations next season. In a single high primary scheme, this would allow all three players to cover areas of the field they are most comfortable playing.
Unfortunately, after these three players, the depth gets fairly thin. Currently, Reggie Robinson, Darian Thompson, and Jayron Kearse are the other safeties on the team. Kearse was signed to provide special teams depth, Robinson has asked to stay at safety after a possible move back to cornerback, and the jury is still out on how impactful Thompson can be now that Neal has a roster spot locked up?
The Cowboys are, once again, in a situation where they sign solid-at-best starters at safety and hope they overachieve so the defense doesn’t completely fall into shambles similar to last season.
Fortunately, the organization is valuing the safety position a lot more than in past years which means they will likely look for a safety in this draft. Looking for a rangy free safety in a box safety-loaded class is just fantastic. Hopefully, the Cowboys can get lucky with their defensive selection similar to the last draft.
It is now T-minus 29 days before the NFL Draft so we shall start another 7 Rounds of a Certain Position.
The point of these, as always, is to gauge the value of the prospects in each round. The best rounds, based on precedent, to draft a safety have been on Day 2; could this draft be different as good players exist in later rounds?
This year we’re using Pro Football Networks draft simulator. No picks will be traded. This would largely defeat the purpose of this article. With the number of picks the team has, they can likely find their guy at any point in the draft. Think of this as a mock draft of offensive tackles.