With the tenth pick in the draft the Cowboys have a few positions of need.
Biggest needs: CB, OL, LB
Dallas holds a pick inside the top 10 for the first time since 2016. The Cowboys have needs at every level of the defense and must add depth on the offensive line. Quarterback could be a consideration, as well, if they don’t get a long-term deal done with Dak Prescott.
Former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is back on the head coaching interview circuit.
The Cowboys are now free to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term deal, if they can - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
If Jerry Jones hasn’t wised up yet, then it’s going to be a long offseason.
The Cowboys believe that Prescott is their guy, so it is incumbent on them to get a deal done and avoid a major salary cap issue, or face the prospect of starting over. As scarce as good quarterbacks are, starting over is a very dicey proposition.
“You see where these numbers are for quarterbacks,” Jones said. “The good ones that win year and year out, they do it consistently, and certainly we think we have one in Dak that could be the same thing, and that’s why we’re working, will continue to work hard to get him signed long-term, get him back at the wheel in terms of being his team and moving forward. And we think we can get that kind of consistency from Dak and coach [Mike] McCarthy and this football team.”
The Cowboys also went ahead and re-signed Kellen Moore as the offensive coordinator to add more consistency to the offensive side of the ball. Prescott has to be a fan of Moore given how his stats have exploded in Moore’s offense.
Dallas has everything lined up for a Prescott return, now they just have to pay the man.
Cowboys start defensive overhaul with Caleb Farley in 7-round mock draft - Garrett Ballard, With The First Pick
Always good to see what people think the Cowboys needs will be.
Round 3, Pick 74: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
Christian Barmore has been heating up in recent weeks and is making his case to be the best interior defensive lineman in this class. He is fast, strong and has developed immensely as a player throughout this year.
The interior defensive line class in the 2021 NFL Draft is a bit lackluster, so landing someone with the upside of Barmore in round three could end up being a major steal for this team. Doubling up on potent pass rushing threats to improve this defensive line after grabbing a corner like Farley instantly improves this defense far beyond what it was in 2020.
Round 3, Pick 99: Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
The run on defensive players continues! If there is something the Cowboys haven’t had in their secondary for a while, it’s a true ball hawking safety. In 2019, Andre Cisco led the nation in interceptions and just knows how to find the football. Xavier Woods has not been great, and isn’t as natural of a true safety as Cisco is.
Cisco needs some development in terms of tackling, but if you want a guy who knows how to find the football, Andre Cisco is your guy. Addressing two defensive linemen and two secondary players on the first two days of the draft is ideal for this defense that struggled immensely in 2020.
One side of the ball for the Cowboys has many needs.
Right tackle La’el Collins didn’t play at all before season-ending hip surgery, and four-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin missed the last five games with a calf injury sustained after he had moved to right tackle to bolster the injury-plagued line.
With all those players rejoining the promising receiving trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb - and with play caller Kellen Moore returning on a three-year contract - the offense is rolling compared to a defense that improved after a poor start but still faces many questions.
The core of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith isn’t likely to change, with Vander Esch needing to prove he can stay healthy after again struggling with injuries. Beyond promising rookie Trevon Diggs, the secondary could be looking at an overhaul - with or without Nolan in charge.
‘’We got to pop it off sooner - can’t wait till the end of the season,’’ Smith said. ‘’We grew a lot. But we’re not satisfied because we’re not where we want to be.’’
Sounds like DeMarcus Lawrence doesn’t know if Mike Nolan will be back next season.
According to Lawrence, Nolan reacted to the struggles by adjusting his schemes until they saw more positive results.
“I respect Mike as a man because he looked himself in the mirror and he changed some things to make us play faster and helped us play better. I mean, it was later in the season, but we started to see improvements, and I think it really shined a light on the type of players we are.”
Lawrence stressed that Nolan’s system isn’t “complicated,” and that sometimes players’ reactions to what happened on the field need to be better and that they’re able to understand their assignments even as the slightly unexpected happens. The former Pro-Bowler didn’t throw any players under the bus or even seem frustrated with his teammates but said that the defense as a whole needed to bring “more consistency” into the 2021 season and that every player needed to “understand the culture around you.”
If all that simply comes down to growing pains for young players or a lack of urgency from the team in general, Lawrence promised the defense would come ready for higher expectations next season.
A lot of questions about depth arose during this season and will continue until the draft.
Defensive End (4)
DeMarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith, Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, Bradlee Anae
The Dallas Cowboys surprisingly find themselves in pretty good shape at defensive end heading into the 2021 offseason. They would probably love to bring back Aldon Smith, but they’re not going to overpay to keep him around. If Smith is brought back somehow it’s unlikely they add any more depth to the position. If not though, they could draft another DE as early as the first-round.
Defensive Tackle (3)
Antwaun Woods, Tyrone Crawford, Trysten Hill, Neville Gallimore
If upgrading the defensive tackle position isn’t the top priority for the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason it’s right there at the top of the list. I wouldn’t consider Antwaun Woods, Trysten Hill, or Neville Gallimore as anything more than depth. Hill and Gallimore may turn into capable starters, but Dallas can’t count on that. It’s way past time to invest more resources in the DT position.
Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, Joe Thomas, Francis Bernard, Luke Gifford
Jaylon Smith and LVE are the only proven LBs currently under contract for the Dallas Cowboys and will probably reprise their roles as starters in 2021, despite both coming off a disappointing 2020 season. Upgrading the LB position is an underrated offseason “need” for the Cowboys in my opinion. With LVE’s inability to remain healthy and Smith’s inconsistent play, depth at the position becomes even more of a concern.
2020 was a tough year for everyone.
The season has come to an end as the Cowboys wrapped up the regular season with a disappointing 23-19 loss to the Giants.
While the win didn’t seem to matter in the NFC East standings considering Washington won later that evening to finish first in the division, the Cowboys loss was a microcosm of the entire season. Poor start, second-half rally but it was too late to get over the hump.
Before all of the focus shifts the offseason, let’s recap how things went for the Cowboys Sunday against the Giants.
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