There are a lot of people who feel that the top need for the Dallas Cowboys entering 2018 is at linebacker.
It’s not hard to disagree with that, the middle of their defense certainly needs help. What’s ironic is an argument could be made that their best defensive player is a linebacker in Sean Lee.
The General and Jaylon Smith will patrol the heart of the Cowboys defense next season, at least that’s the hope and plan, especially if you believe Jerry Jones (when has he ever been misleading?).
Dallas will also have Damien Wilson entering his own contract-year next season, but it’s not like he’s making anybody feel safer about the state of the position group.
There are two significant Cowboys linebackers who will be free agents this offseason, Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber. The latter has always been more of a contributor on special teams, it’s the former that has people interested these days.
Everyone is under the impression that neither DeMarcus Lawrence nor David Irving are going anywhere in all likelihood, so that makes Anthony Hitchens the most important free agent on the Cowboys this offseason. It’s critical to bring him back.
Hitchens almost didn’t play last season, a point he reflected on last week, but thankfully he did, and quite frankly he was impressive. He filled in admirably for both Lee and Smith due to injuries and lack of readiness throughout last season.
Given his own talents and the lack of depth at the position, Cowboys fans want Hitchens back, and you can understand why they feel linebacker is such a dire need.
When it comes to linebackers and Cowboys fans, though, there is no more popular name these days than Georgia’s Roquan Smith.
He may be coming off of a loss in the National Championship game, but Roquan has some insanely special skills that will translate to the NFL level.
Smith played in Kirby Smart’s system at Georgia as their WLB, and technically that’s Sean Lee’s position in Dallas. Roquan could be a bit of a long-term play for the Cowboys, but his talent is so hard to ignore, and Sean Lee isn’t exactly the pinnacle of health.
It’s understandable if you feel that Roquan is the guy you want to spend the 19th overall pick on (assuming he even lasts that long or if you did trade up). He’s one of the more special talents at the position to enter the NFL Draft in quite some time.
What if the Cowboys managed to bring back Anthony Hitchens, though? Would you still want Roquan? Dallas would be financially committed to he and Lee, with a former second-round pick entering his third (sort of second) season alongside a would-be first-rounder. That’s a lot of investment in one position group.
Of course, the front and back sides of the Cowboys defense has already seen its fair share of draft capital put into it. Dallas has spent premium picks to get pass rushers and secondary players, maybe it is worth committing one to Roquan even if they bring back Hitchens. The more the merrier, right?
Dallas has had a tendency to assume that things will be okay where they have a point of talent, like the linebacker position for example. They’ve done a poor job as of late in the depth department, the Chaz Green fiasco in Atlanta serves as the latest example. They have to learn to prepare for injuries better, Sean Lee’s is another example.
As scary as it sounds, it’s well within the Cowboys realm of possibility to re-sign Anthony Hitchens, and say to themselves “we’ve got Lee, Jaylon, and Hitchens... we’re good.”
Is this a line of thinking you’re alright with? Banking on those three linebackers plus Damien Wilson and some other veteran or late-round pick so that the first-rounder can be devoted elsewhere? Let your voice be heard, BTB.
Would you pass on Roquan Smith if Anthony Hitchens was brought back?
This poll is closed
Yes: I trust that depth, let’s improve elsewhere
No: No more of this, time for serious talent and insurance