As the days roll by and we creep closer to draft weekend, the Cowboys are still left with many questions unanswered on defense. Dan Quinn is inheriting an underwhelming unit that he will look to bring back to respectable levels in an attempt to complement their high powered offense.
You could look at all three levels of the defense and justifiably argue that draft capital should be used there. The main question marks on the defense lie within the secondary, and the cornerback position specifically. Cornerback was already viewed as one of the weaker units on the team after the Cowboys let Byron Jones test free agency following the 2019 season, where he ultimately ended up in Miami with the Dolphins. Similarly this offseason, they were comfortable letting Chidobe Awuzie leave in free agency to join the Cincinnati Bengals. Through the draft they were able to add what they believe to be a cornerstone piece with the addition of Trevon Diggs. Diggs looks to be a vital part of this team moving forward, however outside of him, there is not much within the depth chart at the cornerback position that would leave you inspired. The Cowboys were able to re-sign Jourdan Lewis and keep him in the fold with Diggs, Anthony Brown, and a variety of other depth pieces. Many of the corners on the roster have limited playing experience and as you analyze the position closely it can make you a bit nervous.
Rivals throughout the division have added fire power on the offensive side of the ball, and within the divisional matchups there is no question that the Cowboys secondary will be tested. Pick 10 in the draft may very well be a corner like many mock drafts have predicted, and that pick would be welcomed as a solid start to solidifying the back end of Quinn’s defense.
Many reports have come out this week that AJ Bouye and Malcolm Butler, before signing with their new teams, showed interested in joining the Dallas Cowboys and were met with resistance as the Cowboys kindly declined, stating that each player was outside of their price range. The Cowboys deciding that Butler and Bouye may not be the right fight schematically or financially is their own prerogative and one could view that as Jerry Jones and the staff having a plan that they are sticking to. However, adding a cornerback that has experience and a résumé of playing the game at a high level pre-draft should be on their list of things to do.
By adding a free agent cornerback now, it allows Dallas to freely navigate the draft searching for the best player available as their selections come around. Pressing for a position, or needing to fill a hole will lead to the team reaching for prospects in spots that may overvalue the player and subsequently have them missing out on a player that may help the team now and into the future. Will McClay and his staff have done a great job of avoiding exactly that in years prior. McClay has been able to use free agency in a financially responsible way to find and add players to plug holes prior to the draft allowing the team the freedom to take a player such as Ceedee Lamb when they fall.
Looking at the roster as it currently is constructed it is not hard to see where the team may benefit the most by adding fresh talent. Everybody knows that the way to win in the NFL is through quality drafts and when you don't draft well it can set your franchise back for years. Knowing that, but also being able to objectively view your roster to find weaknesses and holes that may need a stop gap, is what teams like the New England Patriots found themselves doing this year.
You will not find all of the answers through free agency and frankly there are a lot more mistakes made than homeruns hit. However, when it comes to free agency signings, it is paramount to give yourself the freedom to take the best player available. The Cowboys have added a few intriguing pieces already but they have been quiet as of late. The team is always looking to add players to better the team, lets hope that continues before the start of day one of the draft.