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Cowboys candidates in free agency and the draft to improve the DT position

Taking a look at players the Cowboys can target at the defensive tackle position in the draft or in free agency.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In Rod Marinelli’s defense, the importance of a 3-technique defensive tackle in comparison to a 1-technique defensive tackle is pronounced. One player that has had to play both positions is Maliek Collins, and he appears to be better suited to the 3-tech. He was excellent in his rookie season, but once he was asked to play out of position, he took a step back in 2017. The Cowboys also have David Irving who played the 3-tech spot most of last year. The 1-tech position is kind of barrens.

Dallas loves versatility all across the depth chart. They love cornerbacks who can also play safety (i.e. Byron Jones), they love guys who contribute on special teams (i.e Jeff Heath), and they love guys who can move around and fill positions if need be. However, by doing this, the Cowboys lose sight of progression with certain players. Collins has the chance to be a real nice piece on this Dallas front. But he was used incorrectly and he was inefficient because of that.

With the free agency and the draft just around the corner, the Cowboys will have some options in terms of players that they could add at some point in the draft. Due to the fact that they do not value the 1-technique defensive tackle position a whole lot, this potential selection could be made later in the draft or this potential acquisition could come at a bargain in free agency.

Let’s take a look at some prospects and impending free agents that make sense at the either the 3-tech or 1-tech position.

Free Agency

Justin Ellis

A fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in the 2014 draft, Ellis has had a nice couple of seasons with the Raiders. Ellis came into the league as a run-stuffing defensive tackle. After losing around 10 pounds before the 2017 season, Ellis put up career numbers.

With the loss of weight, Ellis would noticeably quicker off the ball, a trait that should pique the Cowboys’ interest. In his first three seasons in the league, Ellis’ tackle total didn’t pass 22. But in 2017, he amassed 48 tackles. Ellis could be in for a pretty penny. But if the market settles, the Cowboys should be players for him.

Bennie Logan

With the Cowboys looking for an option to stuff the interior part of the defensive line, Logan could fit the bill. After four productive seasons as a rotational piece for the Philadelphia Eagles, Logan signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Chiefs.

That’s a pretty expensive contract for a prove-it deal. Nevertheless, he produced in 2017 as well. Similar to Ellis, the Cowboys could become players for Logan if the market plays out to Dallas’ favor.

Jay Bromley

Out of the three names here, Bromley is the option that could most likely end up with the Cowboys. At age 26, he is still young. He has some athleticism to him at the size of 6-foot-3, 315 pounds. Bromley moves pretty well for a guy his size.

With an absolute physical specimen in front of him in Damon Harrison, Bromley failed to get ample time, splitting playing time with Dalvin Tomlinson. However, by coming to Dallas, Bromley will get the opportunity to work with Rod Marinelli and be given the time and opportunity to blossom further.

NFL Draft

Taven Bryan

Admittedly, drafting a guy like Bryan would mean that they would have two undersized defensive tackles. However, Bryan is a guy that could play multiple positions on the defensive line. With his short, yet powerful frame, Bryan resembles Dominique Easley, a former Florida product just a few years ago.

Due to his quickness off the football and the speed he plays with, Bryan could be a target for the Cowboys. If Dallas decides to trade back and stockpile draft picks, Bryan could very well be the option and the route the Cowboys go.

Said by John Dove of With the First Pick:

Bryan is a naturally powerful player with excellent raw strength. At times he is even able to generate a push on the pocket with just one hand. The key for Bryan to unlock his potential is his technique. At this point in his development, he makes plays based on his physical attributes.

Maurice Hurst

The Cowboys’ selection in Todd McShay’s mock draft, Hurst has received a lot of connection lately to Dallas. With the situation of David Irving up in the air, Hurst would be an ideal three-technique defensive tackle for Marinelli and company.

At 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, Hurst is a guy that uses his low base to win at the line of scrimmage when engaging with bigger offensive lineman. Due to his playing nature, Hurst wins battles off the football and is able to disrupt plays by diagnosing plays quickly. The Cowboys would benefit tremendously by adding a player of Hurst’s ability to their 4-3 front.

Derrick Nnadi

In terms of draft options on this list, Nnadi is the player that will go later in rounds due to the fact that how he won in college may not translate to how he will win in the NFL. There is no doubt that Nnadi needs to hone in on his technique and get bigger, but his ability to move laterally across the line will provide use for stunts in the NFL.

Despite not being a first-round name, Nnadi played against some of the best competition in college football. While Florida State was truly in a state of debacle in 2017, Nnadi was definitely one of their bright spots.

Which defensive tackle do you want the Cowboys to add this offseason?

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