Early on in the process, this lineup certainly seems feasible unless a camp surprise happens.
Sure, there are a few free agents out there who may be on the Cowboys’ radar, but the players they will take to camp are already signed or, in the case of draft picks, waiting to be signed.
Now is a good time to look at how the new pieces will fit—specifically, what the starting lineup will look like. The actual starters don’t matter as much at positions that rotate, but this still gives a good starting point for what the on-field product will be.
Starting Lineup: QB Dak Prescott, RB Tony Pollard, WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Brandin Cooks, WR Michael Gallup, TE Jake Ferguson, LT Tyron Smith, LG Tyler Smith, C Tyler Biadasz, RG Zack Martin, RT Terence Steele
There’s no excuse for the Cowboys not to have an elite offense. This projected starting lineup is nearly identical to the one they put on the field last year, but it’s better in a couple of key areas.
Starting Lineup: DE Micah Parsons, DT Osa Odighizuwa, DT Mazi Smith, DE DeMarcus Lawrence, LB Leighton Vander Esch, LB Damone Clark, CB Trevon Diggs, CB Stephon Gilmore, NB DaRon Bland, S Donovan Wilson, S Jayron Kearse
This projected lineup makes it clear why the Cowboys spent a premium pick on a defensive tackle. The defense was good last season and has answers at nearly every position.
Bass’ rise from being undrafted to eventual starter could come sooner than many believe.
Most projected him to go in the 5th or 6th round, which is understandable.
If you aren’t a top-of-the-level offensive lineman, that is about the spot you see most go. As I continue looking at his tape, numbers, and everything in between, I don’t understand how he wasn’t picked.
Bass had a 9-feet-1 broad jump at the NFL combine and a 28.5-inch vertical jump. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.48 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.86 seconds.
Here is the only slimmer of an idea I have as to why he didn’t get drafted.
The Oregon Ducks had one of the best offensive lines in all of football a season ago; maybe NFL teams thought he was more a product of the outstanding line play than him as an individual.
Bass is fantastic in both run and pass blocking. With all the Cowboys’ moving parts on that line, he could jump into a starting spot if someone struggles.
Due to his lack of arm length, it seems Bass will compete at guard, at least that is what the early reports say.
Although the draft has come and gone, there are still quality veterans available on the market that the team could sign ahead of camp.
Before the 2023 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys made sure to set themselves up with a roster they felt good about. They added Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore through trade while also re-signing several key in-house free agents, but there were still some holes they needed to address.
A couple of those were filled during the weekend, including defensive tackle in Round 1 and tight end in Round 2. However, there are still positions that could use more depth before the Cowboys head to training camp. In order to find that depth, they’ll have to turn to the open market to find that — and these three players should be high on their list.
Cowboys FA Target No. 3: Dalton Risner, Guard
Dallas lost Connor McGovern in free agency and if their plan to keep Tyler Smith at left tackle holds true, they need to find someone to replace him. So far, the primary options are Matt Farinok and Asim Richards — who was the lone offensive lineman they drafted this weekend.
Cowboys FA Target No. 2: Mason Crosby, Kicker
Last year, the Cowboys were unprepared at kicker. They went into the season with undrafted free agent Jonathan Garibay as the favorite for the job. It wasn’t long until Garibay proved he wasn’t up to the task and in came Brett Maher.
Cowboys Signing RB Leonard Fournette a ‘Best Fit’ Replacement for Ezekiel Elliott? - Connor Zimmerlee, SI.com
A possible idea on adding to the running room is for Dallas to sign Lombardi Lenny to compete for a roster spot.
Throughout the pre-NFL Draft process the Dallas Cowboys, found themselves linked to the possibility of taking a running back, even as high as with their first-round pick at No. 26 overall.
While they did take a running back, though, they did not do so until the sixth round when they drafted Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn with pick No. 212 in the sixth round. But does the addition of Vaughn to complement Tony Pollard mean the Cowboys running back room is complete?
“In Dallas, Fournette could return to his Playoff Lenny form while complementing starter Tony Pollard and rookie Deuce Vaughn,” CBS wrote. “Still just 28, Fournette would give the Cowboys an experienced runner who could help them break their 28-year Super Bowl drought.”
Fournette was also crucial in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run as he rushed for 300 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs while hauling in 18 receptions for 148 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air.
There are plenty of in-house options to choose from, and it’ll be interesting to see what direction the franchise heads in for the upcoming season.
The 2023 draft did a fairly good job of filling needs for the Cowboys. They fortified their defensive line, added another tight end to the mix, picked up a running back and added to their depth and special teams.
Yet one position still stands out as a unfulfilled need: left guard.
Listening to the Cowboys’ pre-draft press conference, it sounded like internal solutions were always an option. Owner and GM Jerry Jones specifically pointed to the salary cap and how the Cowboys needed to churn the roster and couldn’t afford to re-sign stable veterans every single time. Young players had to step up.
The Cowboys seem prepared to let their stable of young and mostly unproven players duke it out for the starting LG spot.
If all else fails they could theoretically move Tyler Smith inside again to guard and let Tyron Smith and Steele play tackle. But they seem committed to develop Tyler Smith at LT and moving him back to guard would be a disservice to his development.
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