The Dallas Cowboys, and the rest of the NFL for that matter, are a month out from the draft. While we here at SportDFW have been giving a ton of profiles about potential draft picks, it might be time to reassess what the Cowboys actually need at this point.
Prior to free agency the Dallas Cowboys had a lot of immediate needs, many of which they have addressed, and some they have not really touched in any meaningful way. While some of this may be easy to figure out, there are some spots they could upgrade for various reasons.
The easiest positions to point at for the Dallas Cowboys is at left guard and defensive tackle. Traditionally the Cowboys have not valued defensive tackle the way other teams have, this has caused them issues in the last two playoffs where teams could run up the middle, and the linebackers were left on an island.
While they have valued the offensive line, the lack of a left guard that people feel confident in is a huge hole. Yes, they are saying they want to move either Tyler Smith or Tyron Smith there, but with Tyron’s injuries, it is hard to feel confident. (Jerry even mentioned today that Tyron could play right tackle and Terence Steele would be the swing tackle).
The Dallas Cowboys have some holes they could look to fill but there are some other spots they could address if the draft falls differently than expected.
Beyond those two holes at the moment, they are pretty set at most positions to allow BPA (Best Player Available) with regard to position. For instance, if the best-graded player on their board is a quarterback, it is safe to assume with a 99.999% probability that they won’t be the pick. While a kicker may not be picked early they could look to add one late in the draft. But there are upgrades to be had and with that we start on offense.
One of the big questions will be whether Terence Steele will be fully healthy to start the season. Even if he is, they could look to upgrade the position if one of the top tackles fall. Now I know there will be a lot of backlash for this, but Steele is good in run blocking, but his pass blocking is below average.
If Mike McCarthy wants to throw more, and the injury isn’t where they want it to be, a tackle, or even a center, is not out of the realm of possibility. Maybe not probable, but if one falls, they could look to upgrade.
Staying on the offensive side of the ball they have four running backs and four tight ends on the roster, but there are some that do not feel confident at both positions. Many fall on the side of positional value for both (running back is the lowest positional value in the NFL currently and tight end is toward the bottom as well) but if the right player falls both are options. The current thinking for the majority of fans seems to be a running back, after dumping Ezekiel Elliott, is not a progressive move and tight ends take time to develop.
A wide receiver is an option, but this draft is heavy on slot receivers so unless a top one drops, they could wait until the middle rounds to add to the position. The hope is Michael Gallup returns to pre-injury ability, Brandin Cooks is what they expect in stretching the field, CeeDee Lamb takes another step, and the depth guys all find a way to play well enough to see the field. While it may not feel like the position is a need, you can never have enough good pass catchers on the outside.
On defense, an edge is always an option as pass rushers are certainly a boost to any defense. Linebacker depth is also a pretty big need and while adding an edge could free Micah Parsons up to move back to linebacker unless they address defensive tackle, the linebacker position is at a small disadvantage in the return for the pick (off-ball linebacker is the second lowest positional value in the NFL currently). I personally feel you should always build from the lines back, but they could address the front seven.
Corner seems to be fine, but Stephon Gilmore is 32 years old (33 before the season starts) and the depth behind him and Trevon Diggs is paper thin. Daron Bland may have the slot corner spot locked up with Jourdan Lewis providing the depth there. You can never have enough cover corners so there is always an option to pick a corner. Safety is another position the Cowboys have tended to undervalue, but they need depth and they could finally draft one higher than in the past.
So while the starters seem to be set at most positions, the Dallas Cowboys have opened themselves up to more BPA than they have in the past few years. Left guard and defensive tackle need to be seriously addressed, but once those two are done, they can roll with improving spots, either starters or depth, in the other rounds. With a month left, more can change, but they’ve done a solid job this offseason setting themselves up better than previously by using free agency.