Determining the most important position to fill in the draft is often a confusing exercise. Just figuring out which position on the roster that fits that definition can create debate. Then you have to figure on how to spend draft resources, and there are certain “rules” that come with that. Like you don’t draft interior linemen, safeties, etc. high in the first round unless they are generational talents. There is also the corollary that premier positions like quarterback, defensive end, left tackle, etc. influence need and draft position.
Nothing is really clean when trying to determine the most important position to fill in the draft for a team, but Bleacher Report decided to give it a shot. They identified needs for the entire draft, not just the first round. This is their most important position that must be addressed at some point in the draft. So what did they come up with for the Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys: Defensive Tackle
The Dallas Cowboys were awful on defense last season. The run defense happened to be far worse than the secondary.
Opponents dominated the Cowboys at the point of attack, and the team finished 31st in rushing yards allowed per game (158.8) and 30th in yards allowed per carry (5.0).
Dallas has young investments along the defensive interior in Trysten Hill, 23, and Neville Gallimore, 24, but they don’t excel at controlling their gaps. Antwaun Woods is the best of the bunch, but he’s mediocre.
The Cowboys have a lot invested in their linebackers, and cornerback is probably a bigger target with the 10th overall pick. Yet the team can’t walk away from this year’s draft without getting a legitimate run-stuffer. Those types aren’t as valuable as they once were, but the ability to control the line of scrimmage and let the talent work behind them can be priceless.
There is a lot to unpack here. On the surface, they have nailed one thing. Defensive tackle play last year for the Cowboys was a real problem. Gerald McCoy’s injury, Trysten Hill’s injury, and Dontari Poe’s ineffective showing led to a huge hole in the middle of the defense. Neville Gallimore stepped up and showed a lot of promise, but teams were running through truck-sized holes on the Cowboys defense last year.
With Hill expected back, and Gallimore gaining valuable experience last year, and the addition of Brent Urban who receives kudos for his run-stopping efforts, it’s tempting to think things will improve there. Improve enough to where this isn’t a giant need in the draft?
That’s where it gets interesting. Weighing that against other positions of need, like say, cornerback. Does group of Hill, Gallimore, Urban and Antwaun Woods (plus Carlos Watkins) inspire more confidence at their position than Trevon Diggs, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown do at cornerback? There is also the importance of cornerback over defensive tackle in general defensive strategy in a pass-happy NFL.
You could also look at linebacker, which right now definitely needs some manpower added. Maybe depth along the offensive line is your thing.
So we leave it to you, BTB. Which position is the most important for the Cowboys to grab help at in the 2021 draft?