With the NFL draft officially in the books, we are one step further in forming what will be this year’s Dallas Cowboys roster. It wasn’t without some drama, some surprises, and a feel-good story. Days after the draft, we’ve come to learn that there was indecision about who to take with their top pick, before ultimately choosing Mazi Smith with the 26th pick. On day two of the draft the Cowboys selected Michael Schoonmaker and many were up in arms over the selection.
Some have since walked back their angst on the selection over the past few days however, Finally, there was the touching moment when Cowboys assistant director of college scouting Chris Vaughn called his son, Deuce, to inform him he was being drafted by Dallas. The Cowboys also signed an exciting slew of undrafted free agents to supplement their draft class. However, there are still roles to fill and areas of need to address. Here are some players who the team could target after the draft.
William Jackson III
Sure, the Cowboys did add a corner late in the draft and did make a trade for Stephon Gilmore. However, if last year taught the Cowboys anything it’s how valuable depth and experience is at cornerback. Once Anthony Brown tore his Achilles and Jourdan Lewis suffered a Lisfranc injury, the position was thrown into a state of flux and Dallas was left searching for answers and able bodies. This time is going to be different, and Dallas could add a veteran that will add experience. One name to watch that the team should pursue is William Jackson III.
Per PFF new @WashingtonNFL CB William Jackson III has allowed a catch on just 37% of his targets while in single coverage, which is the 2nd best rate in the NFL since 2017. (Min 100 snaps) pic.twitter.com/6o1x4SDyOF— Nathan Coleman (@CommandersStats) March 24, 2021
Jackson makes for an ideal target for a few reasons. The former first-round pick has the size that Dan Quinn and the Cowboys covet. Jackson stands at six feet tall and has good measurables. At the NFL scouting combine in 2016, Jackson measured with an arm length of 31 ¾ inches and ran a 4.37 40-yard dash. He may not be as fast at that time speed currently but is still more than a functional athlete.
Jackson has started 64 games in his NFL career and could play in a pinch if needed. After falling out of favor in Washington and being a cap casualty with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jackson is an unrestricted free agent. His asking price should be significantly lower now. Overall, Jackson would be at best an average starting caliber corner and at worst a solid rotational option.
The Cowboys held steady and did not draft a kicker. The team has already announced that they are looking to add a veteran kicker and need to address that problem sooner than later. Since parting with the once near automatic Dan Bailey, the team has struggled to get consistent and long-term success at kicker. Brett Maher was with the club for stints with his most recent one being largely good until his meltdown in the postseason. Dallas also gave Greg Zeurlein a chance but he too had less than spectacular results.
The most experienced and sensible option is Robbie Gould. Gould has garnered a reputation as being one of the league’s most reliable placekickers throughout his career. Gould had a span from 2016-2018 in which he made 82 of 85 field goal tries (96.4%). He did have issues last season between 40-49 yards, missing four of eleven kicks in that range. Yet, that might be more of a blip on the radar than anything else.
Right now, the only kicker on the roster is Tristan Vizcaino but it’s hard to believe that he’s the only consideration for the job. Since entering the NFL five years ago, Vizcaino has played for ten different NFL clubs and now is on his second stint with the Cowboys and is likely nothing more than a training camp kicker.
For Gould, who is an older player at 40 years old, the money will have to be right to land his services. Gould was making north of 4M last season and that probably will be the starting point for the negotiations. If the team has aspirations for a championship, it might be worth the price to pay.
RB Kareem Hunt
There still seems to be a battle open for who will be more of the between-the-tackles, power back for the Cowboys. Earlier this offseason, the team parted ways with franchise stalwart Ezekiel Elliott after seven seasons with the team. There have been rumors of a reunion at some point but that’s purely speculation and likely not going to happen.
Tony Pollard is a dynamic runner with a varied skill set but banging into the middle of the defense isn’t his strong suit, and many of the runners on the roster don’t fit that bruising archetype. Dallas did add Hunter Leupke from North Dakota State who has some short-area traits, but is more of a Swiss army knife fullback. The Cowboys should look to Kareem Hunt as a running mate to Tony Pollard to fill the void left by Elliott.
Hunt somehow remained on the Cleveland Browns after being rumored to be traded at last year’s deadline. Since joining the Browns, Hunt has been a productive runner playing in a secondary role behind Nick Chubb. Hunt has averaged over four yards a carry in all but one year in his career. Hunt is also capable of being a receiver out of the backfield in addition to being a good runner in goal-to-go situations. Signing Hunt after the draft would be a sneaky good pickup this late in the offseason.