[After that disastrous 2015 season, that saw the Cowboys go 4-12 thanks to the injury bug, we are going to examine the entire roster from top to bottom and ask:
Have the Dallas Cowboys improved?
That may seem like a loaded question but in terms of looking inside and out and taking every variable into the equation that question can be answered. Do you believe that the Cowboys improved from one year to the next?]
We make our way to the defense and we start working from the back with the Cowboys' group of safeties. They did spend a sixth-round pick here but may have found some undrafted guys that can at least help on special teams. Let's have a look:
FS/ CB - Byron Jones (picked 27th-overall in 2015 NFL Draft, started 11 games in various DB roles)
FS - J.J. Wilcox (played all 16 games, recorded one INT, lost job to Jones)
SS - Barry Church (Started 15 games, 117 tackles, 1 FF, broke forearm at end of season)
SS - Jeff Heath (led team with 2 INTS, special teams ace)
S - Danny McCray (Special-teamer who filled spot duty)
FS - Byron Jones
SS - Barry Church
SS - J.J. Wilcox
SS - Jeff Heath
FS- Kavon Frazier (sixth-round pick from Central Michigan)
SS - Rolan Milligan (UDFA from Toledo)
Starting with the two guys at the bottom of the depth chart, they're likely playing for one potential spot on the roster. Frazier played well at Central Michigan and has shown some athleticism and tackling ability. He's someone they hope could turn into much more than just a sixth-round pick. Milligan hails from the same school that gave the Cowboys Barry Church. They play with a lot of similarities as well. Milligan will have a hard time breaking through and this camp and preseason will make or break him.
Jeff Heath has become a very good special teams player for the Cowboys but also hasn't been such a liability in coverage. He led the team in interceptions but that's not saying much still his value to the team doesn't go unnoticed as he is a pretty solid tackler. Special teams are his venue and the Cowboys rewarded him with a four-year contract.
Wilcox is very likely to be playing his final year as a Cowboy. I wonder what if he could find a way to compete with Barry Church for the strong position. It's hard to trust him to develop into the safety they once thought he could be. Everyone talks about the poor angles he takes as a tackler but he also has issues in coverage. He loves to tackle hard but at this point, that's all he has brought to the table. He's only been a safety since his senior year in college but it's time that he show some development in the fundamentals.
Barry Church is a reliable starter who was second on the team in solo tackles but he had his fair share of struggles last season. Church is at his best when he's down in the box helping in run support. The team views him as a captain and he's been a solid player for them entering his seventh season at strong safety.
The real prize is what they have in Byron Jones playing a full season as the free safety. He's got the length, range, and coverage ability like a good cornerback. With his athletic prowess, he could be just the defensive weapon they need to make this secondary a lot better. He could truly have a breakout year in the position and seems like a natural fit for the Cowboys' defense going forward.
So, did the Dallas Cowboys improve at safety?
Sure, they did on two accounts, the possibilities of having Jones playing that single-high free safety or last line of defense. You could argue that depth looks a lot better at this position especially if one of the bottom guys makes an impact for Rich Bisaccia. Either way, the safety position isn't among the weakest on the team.