6 Cowboys Starters Who Will Be Replaced in the NFL Draft

These 6 Dallas Cowboys starters might be replaced during the 2024 NFL Draft
Dallas Cowboys, Tony Pollard
Dallas Cowboys, Tony Pollard / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Johnathan Hankins, NT

The Dallas Cowboys need a run-stuffing nose tackle. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

Year after year, this is a major need for the Cowboys and they have been guilty of ignoring the middle of their defensive line on several occasions. This appeared to finally change when they traded for Johnathan Hankins ahead of the 2022 NFL Trade Deadline. Hankins didn't put up huge numbers on the stat sheet but the defense was much better against the run when he was on the field.

Then in 2023, they used their first-round pick on Mazi Smith from Michigan, giving them another 330-plus pound defensive tackle. It looked as though they were finally serious about making teams work to get the ground game going but called an audible at the last minute.

Instead of letting Smith be the nose tackle he was meant to be, they came up with this ridiculous plan to have him lose roughly 30 pounds. He did as he was asked and his performance suffered. Hopefully, they will learn from this and let Mazi be Mazi but it's hard to tell with this team. What we do know is that Hankins is past the age of 30 and continues to deal with injuries so the Cowboys have to bring in a replacement.

Early on in the draft process, it appears they plan to do just that. Dallas has already met with Fabian Lovett from Florida State, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle.

Lovett showed incredible strength at FSU and was able to overcome double-teams with ease. He's not someone who will offer much when it comes to rushing the passer, which means he should be on the clock well into Day 3. He does, however, know how to clog running lanes and could be the run-stuffer this team needs.

Other names to watch include T'Vondre Sweat from Texas — if they want to go after someone on Day 2 — Evan Anderson from Florida Atlantic and Jordan Jefferson from LSU.