The Dallas Cowboys have a plan. The free agency is only a week old, but a lot of things have happened as the team prepares for next season. As expected, the team is wading warily in the free agency waters as they try to fill in the blanks, but some areas have received more attention than others. They still have the April Draft to help bolster the roster, but can their actions in the free agency give us any clues as to who might be picked by picking the best draft for the team? maybe. Probably not, but here are three possibilities that could explain where the front office mind is.
Off the line-back ball? No thank you
One of the first names to be linked with the Cowboys on the 24th pick was Georgia’s Nacube Dean. Devin Lloyd of Utah was expected to be the first player to come off the board somewhere in his teens with possibly a Dean when the Cowboys were up. Although anyone’s guess would be taken from any of these guys first, the idea of choosing one of the nation’s top squad players to pair up with the arrogant Moonlight Micah Parsons was very tempting and could instantly improve an LB unit, but it was really the best use of this the choice?
Cowboys may not seem to think so. They have re-signed Leighton Vander Esch on a one-year deal and are retaining part-time LB/special team player Luke Gifford. Now, that in no way strengthens the linebacker group, but when you throw in proper Gabriel Cox and some reps from Parsons, the team isn’t sitting in a bad shape in the position.
It would be better for the Cowboys to go after a midfielder on day two. What if Christian Harris of Alabama starts slipping in the second round? The Cowboys can pack some of their many picks into the fifth round to go up the second to get it. Or they can just be patient and take one of the other Georgia players or Chad Momma of Wyoming. Throw one of these rookies out there and the Cowboys linebacker will have some new chasers stalking.
OLine fix, dagnabbit!
While their moves were far from exciting, the team at least covered many different areas on their roster. There are still improvements to be made, but they are building this floor for each site group so they don’t get into the draft it will need huge…with one exception – the offensive line.
The Cowboys actually got weaker along the offensive line after releasing veteran right-hand La’el Collins. They also lost Conor Williams to the Miami Dolphins, so they have no starting left guard (unless you count Conor McGovern) and no swing interference (unless you count Josh Paul). it’s a problem.
If you look at the consensus board from the NFL Mock Draft Database, you’ll find four offensive linemen who could play for the Cowboys with a pick of 24. They are Tyler Linderbaum, Travon Benning, Kenyon Green and Zion Johnson.
The Cowboys might look at plotting talent in this draft and decide that one of these guys has a great chance of being there when they’re at the top. While they never want to be put into a corner where they have to take an attacking lineman, the team may already know who they like, and if it’s just a few of those people, there’s a great opportunity to add a day one starter to their unit.
We’ll take it if there is!
While it’s great to have a plan, things don’t always go according to that. If the Cowboys are keeping an eye on one of the best offensive linemen in the draft, that’s cool! But what happens if all the men they love are gone?
Well, in this scenario, that means that talent from another position will slip into them. If a wave of overhead baffles comes off the board, it may mean that a wide receiver is still available. Something similar happened two years ago which was the Cowboys CeeDee Lamb award. Who is your favorite WR from this introductory course? Drake London? Trillon Pyrex? An Ohio man? Do you want it if there is?
It does not have to be a receiver. Perhaps one of the pioneers of the rush will arrive in Dallas. Depending on how things go in the first round, a guy like Jermaine Johnson or George Karlavtis could likely be 24. Do either of them interest you?
The Cowboys hedge their bets in both positions. On wide reception, they may have lost Amari Cooper, but re-signed with Michael Gallup and added outside free agent James Washington, who was picked 21 places ahead of Gallup in the 2018 draft. On the defensive end, the team fumbled away from Randy Gregory but managed to keep DeMarcos. Lawrence at a discount. They also re-signed Dorrance Armstrong and added outside free agent Dante Fowler.
While cowboys do not starve to receive help or rush to deal with it, they should not turn a blind eye if someone falls into their lap.
After the first week of free agency, where do you think your first round draft could go?