Over the course of the last few weeks, we looked at the offense and defense, asking the simple question of where the Cowboys improved their roster from 2017 to 2018. Now that all polls have closed, let’s revisit the results to see where the BTB community stands. We’ll start with the offensive side of the ball.
Did the Cowboys improve the offensive line?
BTB: 98% Yes (2,326 votes)
Analysis: We talk about the questions at other offensive positions but nothing works in Dallas without a stellar offensive line. The Cowboys had questions about that left guard spot as well as what they were going to do with the swing tackle position. The Chaz Green experiment has been a disaster but it probably has more to do with him being asked to have versatility, which he clearly doesn’t possess.
By signing Cameron Fleming, the Cowboys have made certain that if they have to miss Tyron Smith or La’el Collins for a stretch of games, they will be in much better hands than they were last season. When it came to guard, the Cowboys liked Jonathan Cooper but they didn’t love him. He signed elsewhere but the Cowboys just did what they do best and drafted Connor Williams. The Cowboys offensive line continues to be a strength that no team in the NFL can match.
Did the Cowboys improve at running back?
BTB: 85% Yes (1,476 votes)
Analysis: Outside of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys were getting a little long in the tooth at running back. They released Darren McFadden last season but it was time to say goodbye to Alfred Morris, too. Rod Smith was able to score five times in Elliott’s six week absence, showing that he can be relied upon if needed to help the offense.
Another really great value pick up was Bo Scarbrough in the seventh round. The Cowboys were fortunate enough to get younger at a position that doesn’t have a long shelf life in the NFL. Elliott, Smith, and Scarbrough are all backs that have the bodies to take and dish out punishment with good power in their lower extremities. If they need to switch it up, they can do so with Tavon Austin as an elusive weapon out of the backfield.
Did the Cowboys improve at quarterback?
BTB: 77% Yes (865 votes)
Analysis: Again, we have a position in which the Cowboys addressed in the draft. When Kellen Moore retired to take the quarterback’s coach position, the Cowboys needed to get another arm on the roster. They got a strong one by drafting Mike White, who Bryan Broaddus had a third-round grade on and the Cowboys got in the fifth round. Cooper Rush did a fine job backing up Dak Prescott last season but will now have to compete with White for the backup role.
It’s always a good idea to draft a quarterback at some point in each draft because the position is the most valuable one in football. The Cowboys now have a young star quarterback still on his rookie fourth-round deal with two young talents behind him. Some may see the value in a veteran presence but the veterans on the market aren’t very appealing. The Cowboys made the right move in sticking with youth and have an opportunity to develop their own.
Did the Cowboys improve at wide receiver?
BTB: 70% Yes (1,079 votes)
Analysis: I didn’t see this one being such a definitive yes from the majority of our community but I probably should have. Though many other platforms are fixated on the losses of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, BTB is pretty confident in that the receivers on the roster can make up for any loss. Dez Bryant is ultimately the Cowboys All-time leader in touchdown catches but it was clear that this position needed a makeover. No other position has received more attention than wide receiver. The objective of the offseason has to create a more efficient passing offense that is tailored to spreading the ball around.
The Cowboys added Allen Hurns and speed-demon Deonte Thompson in free agency. They also drafted two standout receivers in Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. Both guys were their school’s number one options and both guys finished in the NCAA Top-10 receiving yards for 2017. Just when the position may have looked quite crowded, the Cowboys traded a sixth-rounder for the rights to Tavon Austin. The Cowboys will return receivers Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Noah Brown but Dak Prescott has a whole new stable of guys to throw to as well.
Did the Cowboys improve at tight end?
BTB: 49% No (956 votes), 33% Yes (644 votes)
Analysis: When you have a guy like Jason Witten around for 15 years, it’s easy to take the tight end position for granted. This season will be much different and tight end remains the weakest position on the roster. The Cowboys aren’t an offense that is built around the position by any means but it is concerning that Prescott lost one of his most reliable targets.
Geoff Swaim is the most tenured tight end on the roster with a whopping nine career catches in the NFL. However, this position poll was a little closer than expected. It has a lot to do with the fact that the Cowboys got younger at the position. They drafted Dalton Schultz, a former Stanford guy with tremendous in-line blocking abilities. There is also a lot of buzz around Blake Jarwin, an athletic pass-catching tight end that spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad. Rico Gathers hasn’t been the shining bright star they hoped he would be but he gets another chance this preseason to earn a spot. This position may be their weakest and it’s really hard to see improvement through so much uncertainty. Still, there is tempered excitement about the newfound athleticism at the position now that everyone will be fighting to establish themselves.