Stephen Jones gives us some thoughts on the problem spots on the Cowboys roster.
At this point, it’s common knowledge where the Cowboys’ problem spots stand on the roster. But asked about it more specifically, it’s interesting to note what [Stephen Jones] highlighted as areas of concern moving toward the start of the league year.
“We have three of our four safeties, in terms of play time last year – they’re up for contract,” he said. “We have the defensive line group with D.A. and Randy Gregory, that’s certainly something that comes to mind.”
That trio of safeties commands a lot of attention. Jayron Kearse is the obvious headliner after leading the team in tackles and calling plays on defense in his first year with the team. But fellow starter Damontae Kazee is also up for renewal, as is Malik Hooker, who saw his snaps increase significantly as the season went along.
Gregory draws a ton of attention after posting six sacks last season, but it’s worth remembering that Dorance Armstrong finished just behind him with five of his own. Factor in the uncertainty surrounding DeMarcus Lawrence, and the prospects for both pass rushers could have a serious effect on the defensive end position.
There’s also the matter of the tight end position, where Dalton Schultz is headed for free agency after catching 141 passes for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns over the course of these past two years. Combine that with two years’ worth of serious injuries for Blake Jarwin, and it’s clear the Cowboys don’t love the situation at that spot.
The Cowboys offseason needs to be a success. Is this a good plan?
Positional needs: Offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, wide receiver, safety, tight end
It will be a successful offseason if: The Cowboys continue to draft well and have effective free-agent signings. The Cowboys have made it clear they will not shop in the high end of the market, and they had great success in 2021 with one-year deals. The makeover of the offensive line needs to start soon, which could be their biggest draft priority entering the offseason. — Todd Archer
The Cowboys are likely to be in the market for interior offensive line help, and they need to beef up in the middle on both sides of the ball. Green has played all five positions up front. That type of versatility could make him one of the first interior offensive linemen selected. — Reid
Fixing the Cowboys offensive line is a big topic this offseason.
What change or upgrade on the offensive line would best help the running game? — MATTHEW GARRITY / KENNEWICK, WA
Nick: Center. I’ve said it all last offseason and nothing really changed my mind. I don’t have major issues with Tyler Biadasz but I think it’s a spot that needs to be upgraded with experience and power. To me, it’s a first-round option because of value. You get a center in the first round, he’s probably the best or the second-best in the nation. I think of it like fantasy football. When do you take a defense or a kicker or even a tight end? Maybe you get one earlier than everyone else but that means you’re taking the best one. That’s how I feel about center.
Rob: If Connor Williams departs in free agency, I would gauge La’el Collins’ interest in moving back to left guard. Terence Steele has shown he can do the job at right tackle, and Collins might give them some extra power inside. It would fill a spot internally without having to spend money or a draft pick on a replacement. And they need to get back to moving people off the ball the way they did the first couple months of the season.
Are you as down on Trysten Hill as this article? Should he be a Cowboy in 2022?
1. Trysten Hill, DT
Look. Trysten Hill is a great football player. The sad reality is that at just 23 years old, the defensive tackle just can’t seem to stay on the field. For the most part, that has been due to injury. But as seen in the tweet below, he was also suspended in 2021 for throwing a punch after the Thanksgiving game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
In three seasons with Dallas, Hill has sadly played in just 18 games. He has only started in five and all five of those contests were back in 2020. Warning. These upcoming stats are brutal. In three years, Hill has a total of 27 combined tackles, eight QB hits, and 0.5 sacks. Not even one full sack in three years! We understand that injury plays a huge factor in this, but that’s also part of the point. Durability is a huge factor for any player on the offensive or defensive line.
Hill was a highly touted 2019 draftee and was picked in the second round by Dallas. After his selection, the Central Florida product had a meager season. Then, he sustained a season-ending ACL injury in October of 2020. Hill wouldn’t return to practice with the Cowboys for over a year. Carlos Watkins and Osa Odighizuwa held down the fort while Hill was gone.
It’s very possible that Hill could earn his starting spot back, but the reality is that his production and injury-prone body are a liability for the Cowboys. It’s sad to see all that potential go out the window.
Dalton Schultz 2.0? Dallas Cowboys Connect with TEs, Including Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer - Mike Fisher, FanNation
Draft a tight end? We’ll see what happens with Dalton Schultz.
Wydermyer, a Texas native and a product of Texas A&M, is on Dallas’ radar. So is Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely. The Dallas Cowboys want to keep Dalton Schultz - in a perfect world. But the NFL salary cap creates an imperfect world. So while at the scouting combine in Indianapolis this week they are certain to have touch-base negotiations with the representative of their free-agent tight end, they just got done with another bunch of conversations.
Somewhere in this process, expect the Cowboys to also investigate Trey McBride (6-4, 250) of Colorado State, Cade Otten (6-5, 250) of Washington and Jeremy Ruckert (6-5, 250) of Ohio State. And they’ve reportedly talked to SMU tight end Grant Calcaterra (6-5, 240). ... Again, none of them first-round guys ... but all of them budget-friendly, should they make the team, when compares to Schultz.
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