The Dallas Cowboys are generally considered a contender for the 2020 season. You’ll find them firmly in the Top 10 of power rankings, sometimes even inching into the number five spot. Clearly the talent is there for this team to contend, but with a new coaching staff and the unusual offseason, you never know.
Even with the most talented of rosters, there are always problem areas. An Achilles heel, if you will. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell took a look at the Top 20 contenders for this year’s NFL crown, and pinpointed their Achilles heel. He also ranked them in order of most likely to overcome the problem. The 20th ranked team was most likely to overcome the issues, the top-ranked team faced the longest odds of overcoming it.
Here is is his take on the Cowboys biggest issue, one he feels they have pretty good odds of overcoming.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Achilles’ heel: cornerback
Expected starter: Jourdan Lewis
Dallas was able to retain wide receiver Amari Cooper and upgrade its defensive line this offseason, but it took a step back at cornerback after losing Byron Jones to the Dolphins in free agency. The Cowboys re-signed Anthony Brown, who should start in the slot, and Chidobe Awuzie will likely return as a starter on one side, but they’re hoping to replace Jones by having someone emerge from a committee.
Lewis is the favorite on paper to emerge as the starter, but minor injuries to Lewis and Awuzie have created an opportunity for second-round pick Trevon Diggs. Veteran Daryl Worley and fourth-round pick Reggie Robinson could also figure in the mix, although both have seen some snaps at safety in camp. Diggs still needs some refinement and might give up a big play or two early in the year if forced into the lineup, but he has the most upside of the bunch and figures to be a regular by the end of the season.
The Cowboys secondary has been considered a weakness for a while, mostly because they fail to create turnovers and they played more of a bend-don’t-break style. Then they lost their best player in the secondary during free agency in cornerback Byron Jones. So corner is an issue.
Barnwell slots Anthony Brown in as the slot corner, leaving Jourdan Lewis as the expected starter opposite Chidobe Awuzie. This is his focus for the Cowboys biggest Achilles heel. It’s a little bit odd because Lewis could be considered for the outside corner spot, but he could also battle Brown for the slot spot. Either Trevon Diggs or Daryl Worley could be considered for the outside, or even Brown.
Awuzie has been injured and that has opened up opportunities for other players. Diggs has shined recently in camp and could play his way into a starting spot. But with so many moving parts and starters still undeclared, it’s no wonder cornerback is cited as an Achilles heel for the Cowboys.
But it’s not the only one. The Cowboys are going with a little bit of an untested crew at tight end. Blake Jarwin is the starter, and he looks like he will be just fine, but this will be his first year as the man. We’ll need to see how he reacts and the depth at the position is also questionable.
Additionally, there is the center position. Travis Frederick’s retirement took a position that was locked down by one of the best centers in the game and threw it into flux. Joe Looney looks like he’ll be the starter this year, but his 2018 season was a step down from Frederick (in fairness to Looney, almost any center would be a step down from Frederick). How Looney performs will be key.
Some would also throw safety into the mix. Xavier Woods looks like an ascendant player, but everyone is still waiting on his real breakout season. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was brought in to play opposite Woods, but his uninspiring camp has some talking about Darian Thompson taking over opposite Woods.
Which position is the most dangerous to a successful Cowboys season?
The Cowboys biggest issue is:
This poll is closed