Before we get to free agency and the draft, the Dallas Cowboys have some needs they are going to have to address one way or the other. We won’t discuss coaching changes, as those will be pretty in-depth across all of the Cowboys’ media and blog sites.
No, we will look at the positional needs as we know them today. While there could be some surprise cuts or some restructures, many of the needs are based on this season and how it ended.
Before we get into the positions I want to be clear and say, no, the Cowboys do not need a quarterback, nor will they look for a starting-level one early in the draft.
At best, the Dallas Cowboys could find someone late to take a backup position. But, the case for a quarterback is going to be discussed among the Cowboys faithful, even though Dak Prescott will be the starting quarterback next season barring one of the biggest surprises in free agency in history.
The Dallas Cowboys have needs for all three phases of the game and while the quarterback is not one of them, the needs are wide.
On offense, the Cowboys will need to start looking for more weapons at wide receiver. Today Arjun Menon posted a graph on adjusted wide receiver speeds based on routes and the Cowboys were the seventh-slowest group of wide receivers.
Speed is certainly needed and while the 49ers were slower, they used a lot of motion and route-running specialists to help create the separation. While they do have some players that have not gotten many snaps, a high-end wide receiver in free agency or in the draft could be one answer.
Also on offense left guard is a question mark. Now, they could either move Tyler Smith back inside, or they could look to move Tyron Smith inside to help prolong his career. Either way, the Cowboys need depth at just about every offensive line position and it starts with figuring out who will be the starting left guard. How they handle cuts before free agency could shed some light on how this goes.
What we do not know at this moment is how they will handle the running back position. More than likely one will be drafted, but what round and what type are all questions. Should they cut Ezekiel Elliott and keep Tony Pollard, they will need to add a short yardage style back to compliment Pollard and Malik Davis. Should they let both walk, then the Cowboys could go earlier in the draft for a running back.
On defense, the list of needs starts with another corner to play opposite Trevon Diggs. When Anthony Brown went down a menagerie of corners attempted to play opposite of him with minimal success. Eventually, the Cowboys had to sign Xavier Rhodes for the playoffs.
Kelvin Joseph continues to be unimpressive, Nahshon Wright did show some promise, but they still felt Xavier Rhodes was the better answer. That leaves a huge hole outside and while Daron Bland was a pleasant surprise, he might be better suited for the slot.
On the defensive line help at defensive tackle is still a need. While they did draft Jon Ridgeway last season, he was stolen by Washington, and with Jonathan Hankins being injured the Cowboys had little answers for runs up the middle.
Once again the Dallas Cowboys could look to add to the position this offseason but whomever they grab can also hopefully provide some pass rushing from the inside. They could use some more help at the edge which can free up Micah Parsons to help fill some of the needs at linebacker.
Depth across the defense would be welcomed. Linebacker and safety depth is always seemingly a need, and how they approach free agency should help solidify some of the depth well before the draft happens. With Dan Quinn returning all of the positions could have help added, but what was a strong unit in 2022 will probably be just as strong or better in 2023.
On special teams, kicker is once again a topic that will be discussed. With Brett Maher‘s performance in the playoffs, adding competition after the draft is most likely to happen even if they let Maher go and sign someone else. They have a solid foundation for special teams outside of kicker, however, long snapper could be a surprise depending on how the offseason plays out.
The Dallas Cowboys have needs, but one thing that makes this offseason potentially different is the staff overhaul following a winning season and a playoff win. It could be a sign the front office is looking to make changes across the board.
We will see how they handle free agency which could help give a sign a philosophical change is in progress. We will find out soon enough, but for now, everyone waits for the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl before all the pieces start to fall.