A look at some possibilities for the Cowboys draft.
Dallas Cowboys Draft Option No. 4
Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
Christian Barmore made a huge jump on the rankings of interior defensive lineman due to his play in the 2021 National Championship game. Barmore was all over the field and looked unstoppable at points. He is only a sophomore and has not played a lot of football in college but his size and athletic ability makes him worthy at number ten for the Dallas Cowboys.
The upper body strength that he possesses is just unreal. Barmores strength gave him the advantage against offensive fronts. Engaging and sticking with Christian Barmore is tough because of his ability to over power offensive lineman.
The Alabama defensive lineman possesses great swim and arm over moves that help him the most when pressuring quarterbacks. There is only one knock on Christian Barmore when watching him at Alabama. He sometimes plays too high and gets pushed back because of it.
Free agency is coming up and the Cowboys need some help.
DT – Sheldon Rankins
New Orleans Saints’ three-technique and former 12th overall draft pick might not be the ideal position to bring in since the Dallas Cowboys defense looks to need a one technique defensive tackle but Sheldon Rankins’ run defense is so good that he is worth the money.
The thing about Rankins is that he could also play the role of the four technique in Quinn’s base defense. The Dallas Cowboys front office is always talking about versatility so this should be a no-brainer.
The Saints are in a heap of salary cap trouble so slightly overpaying for him to come to Dallas rather than stay in New Orleans is a calculated risk that should pay dividends for this Dallas defense that needs all the help that they can get.
More looks at free agency possibilities.
3. Poona Ford, Seattle Seahawks
When Poona Ford was coming out of Texas, he was a guy that I really hoped the Dallas Cowboys would take a shot at. Sure he’s short, and his arm length wasn’t great, but his production and fight jumped off the page. He used his leverage well and was able to get push and penetration from the interior.
Fast forward to 2020, Ford is a restricted free agent, and depending on the compensation required to sign him, I’d be very interested in the Cowboys taking a run at him. He helped bolster a Seattle Seahawks defense that allowed just 95.6 rushing rads per game, which was good for fifth in the NFL.
Ford had 18 run stops in 2020, leading the Seahawks defensive line. At 5-11 at 310 pounds, he may not have the size most would be looking for in a 1-tech defensive tackle, but he’s got the ability and the leverage to play inside.
Beefing up the Cowboys QB room.
The Dallas Cowboys should have no problem luring another veteran QB in free agency
Two big things are working in the Dallas Cowboys favor:
They are a high powered offense loaded with receiving talent and all-but guaranteed to produce great results for a QB looking to show his worth
They are unsettled at QB with Dak Prescott still unsigned and coming off major injury.
All of the signal callers we listed (with the exception of Rivers) are playing for another big deal. If they could post big numbers in 2021, they could parlay it into a multi-year deal with someone in 2022. Given the talent the Cowboys has across their O-line and in their pass-catching ranks, Dallas is a great place to boost one’s stock.
And given the dysfunction and dearth of talent on the defensive side of the ball, the potential for shoot-outs is significant, leading to inflated numbers and uncommonly gaudy stats.
We saw last season Andy Dalton put up pretty good numbers as Dak’s replacement. He wasn’t near the passer Prescott was, but he showed he could get the job done and that he still had a little more gas in his tank. As a result, he should get an opportunity to compete for a starting job somewhere in 2021.
Breaking down the coverage schemes of Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn - David Howman, Blogging The Boys
This defensive unit is going back to a simple defense that hopefully works.
For starters, he didn’t make size a prerequisite for playing in the secondary. His Falcons defenses at their peak featured only one regular starter between corner and safety that was over six feet. His secondary this past season, which included two of Quinn’s drafted cornerbacks and another free agent signing, featured just one guy over six feet as well.
More than that, Quinn deviated from the Cover 3 scheme more often than not. Sherman himself noted this too:
“If a guy is a straight-line rusher, let him straight-line rush,” Sherman said. “[Quinn’s] not going to run any type of games with him. If a corner is a man-coverage guy, he’s going to put him in position to play man. If you have two safeties and one of them is a better box safety and the other one is a better hole safety, he’s rarely going to put the hole safety in the box, or vice versa. But he will interchange it some as not to be predictable.
“A lot of times, it’s just knowing the guy’s strengths and just playing toward them. He won’t put guys out of positions and ask them to do something crazy. Now from time to time, you’ve got to put guys where they’re uncomfortable just to make the defense work. But for the most part, he’s going to put guys in the best possible position.”
Always expect the unexpected when it comes to the Cowboys drafts.
Assuming the Cowboys have about the same quality draft this year as they have had in recent years and pick up some good defensive players, what do you think they need to do in free agency to get the defense into at least a middle-of-the-road quality squad? I know there’s a lot of factors involved, but we should be able to get some kind of an idea. — CHRISTOPHER KEATING / MASON, TX
David: Recent draft history leads me to believe that the Cowboys can find one or two starter-caliber defenders in this draft. Trevon Diggs, Leighton Vander Esch, Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Hitchens are my most recent examples of this. So let’s assume they can find one or two starter-caliber guys in the draft. In my mind, that means they need to sign two or three solid free agents in free agency. For starters, they probably need to address either cornerback or safety to make sure they aren’t reaching in the draft.
Rob: I agree with Dave here. First and foremost, they have to figure out the secondary situation before the draft. Doesn’t mean they have to be set back there, but they have to be in an OK spot numbers-wise at corner and safety so they’re not in a bind on draft weekend. Right now Xavier Woods, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are set to be free agents. You could say the same thing about linebacker because Sean Lee and Joe Thomas also have expiring deals. And finding some help in the interior defensive line, whether it’s free agency and/or the draft, will be important too.
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