The NFL draft is a wonderful time of the year for all 32 teams. Next Thursday, each team will begin to add multiple young, cheap talents to their roster in hopes of competing for the Lombardi Trophy in 2019. For NFL teams and the college prospects entering the NFL, this is an exciting time in their lives, but for many seasoned veterans, this could be the start of the end for many players starting jobs/careers. Today we will look at four players who could be in risk of losing their roles on the Cowboys after the 2019 NFL draft.
George Iloka - Safety
The Cowboys brought in 28-year old veteran George Iloka to compete for the strong safety spot with Jeff Heath before starting to plan for the NFL draft. Iloka, a former Bengal and Viking, struggled to see the field with Minnesota last season after being released by Cincinnati. Iloka saw action in all 16 games, but only started three games for the Vikings after the team lost Andrew Sendejo in week five.
As we all know, the Cowboys are doing a ton of work on this safety class. Dallas hosted Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Jonathan Abram, Juan Thornhill, Khari Willis, Taylor Rapp, and Will Harris on official visits, plus they worked out a few more during private workouts and Dallas Day. Iloka signed a very team friendly deal and if the Cowboys do end up drafting a safety high, they can release George Iloka with only a $300k dead cap hit in 2019.
If the Cowboys do draft a safety in the top 100, that will leave the Cowboys with seven safeties on the roster heading into training camp. Some decisions will have to be made. That leads us to our next player.
Kavon Frazier - Safety
Kavon Frazier is a fan-favorite of many. Frazier brings a blue-collar work ethic, toughness, and has shown to be a valuable piece on special teams over his first three years in the NFL.
But the unfortunate fact of the matter is Frazier lacks the versatility that both Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard like in their defensive backs. He lacks the coverage ability to man-up against wideouts and tight ends, and lacks the athletic ability and instincts to play anywhere on defense but down in the box.
The decision between George Iloka and Kavon Frazier would likely come down to how much the front office values the veteran leadership that comes with Iloka or the familiarity, special teams ability, and youth of Kavon Frazier. Any way we slice this, if the Cowboys do end up spending a premium pick on the safety position, one of Kavon Frazier or George Iloka could potentially be looking for work before the start of the season.
Maliek Collins - Defensive Tackle
Unlike the two players we discussed above this is more about losing playing time, as opposed to losing a spot on the team. The Cowboys are currently hunting the 3-techniques in this draft very hard and could spend one of their top two draft selections on an interior defensive lineman if the opportunity presents itself.
Maliek Collins, entering the final year of his contract, could find himself battling it out for playing time with the 58th or 90th overall pick. Collins, now 24, has been a valuable player for the Cowboys in his first three seasons, but his inability to stay healthy has hampered the Cowboys defense ability to consistently generate pressure from the interior of their defensive line.
After bringing in Tyrsten Hill, Kingsley Keke, Gerald Willis, and meeting this offseason with guys such as Zach Allen, Charles Omenihu, and Daniel Wise, their interest in these disruptive 3-technique’s is evident. Maliek Collins is by no means fighting for a roster spot, but depending on when the team decided to draft a defensive tackle, Collins’ starting role could be in serious question.
Anthony Brown - Cornerback
After a disappointing year in 2017, cornerback Anthony Brown bounced back and had an excellent year as the Cowboys third cornerback. Entering the final year of his deal, we would think that Anthony Brown played well enough in 2018 to feel safe about retaining his role as the teams starting nickel-back, but with the Cowboys apparent interest in early-round corners, Brown may want to saddle up for a training camp battle to retain his starting role.
Like Maliek Collins, Brown will not have to worried about his roster spot, due to the lack of depth on the depth chart in 2018, but getting complacent is something that would not be wise for #30.
Dallas hosted two late-round cornerbacks in Derrek Thomas and Chris Westry for “official 30 visits”, but have strong interest in Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams, Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson, and Houston’s Isaiah Johnson if those guys are still around when they are on the clock with one of their two top 100 picks things could get interesting here.