When the Dallas Cowboys head into the Spring Workouts and OTA’s much will have changed via Free Agency and the NFL Draft with the makeup of the defensive line. The latest developments regarding Randy Gregory’s suspension and the uncertainty of Greg Hardy, as well as pending free agency with Jeremy Mincey the Cowboys must draft a defensive lineman.
The Cowboys were at the center of some of the most high profile roster moves in the league landscape last year. They allowed DeMarco Murray to leave in free agency then replaced him with the cost-effective option of Darren McFadden. They signed a controversial Pro Bowl pass rusher in Greg Hardy and they cheaply added two of the draft’s most talented players in Randy Gregory and La’el Collins.
Duplicating that success will be a little hard this year as the Cowboys have so many pressing concerns to address. It’s understandable to think it’ll be hard to duplicate that type of success and considering all the spots the Cowboys need to address.
Their pass rush is particularly troubling as Hardy, Jeremy Mincey and Jack Crawford are set to enter free agency. That was compounded a few weeks ago when Gregory was suspended for four games. So they have to either draft a top tier defensive lineman or go via free agency. I am high on Mario Williams as he fits Rod Marinellis 4-3 scheme and there are other bargains as well. Chris Long as well from the Rams.
As it stands right now the Cowboys are also without their starting middle linebacker from 2015. Their depth at the cornerback position is thin. They need to resolve the questions about the backup quarterback behind Tony Romo and they don’t have much in the way of running back depth behind McFadden.
The Cowboys front office must focus on the defense because there will always be a quarterback in the later rounds. The Cowboys generated a surprisingly small number of sacks last year, and they were middle-of-the-pack in most statistical categories. Most famously when they finished dead last in the NFL in takeaways with a paltry 11 takeaways in 2015 this has to change.
Not to say there weren’t any bright spots. A healthy Sean Lee that added up to a Pro Bowl season as well as a eight sack season from DeMarcus Lawrence. A stellar performance from rookie Byron Jones which was a steal with the 27th pick last year. As well as Darren McFadden performed admirably with over 1,000 yards and was injury free.
So if the Dallas Cowboys can upgrade their defense via the NFL Draft and in free agency it will be a great start and will give the Cowboys fans something to get excited about in 2016.