5 Biggest Needs Dallas Cowboys Have Yet to Address This Offseason
Besides losing DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer to free agency, the team hadn’t made any newsworthy moves. Surprisingly, owner Jerry Jones has been much more disciplined with his spending this offseason than in years past.
Although Melton is a big step in the right direction, there is still work to be done. Let’s examine in order the five biggest needs the Cowboys must address, starting with the most essential.
All statistics via Pro-Football-Reference.com unless indicated otherwise.
The defensive end position is by far the Cowboys’ largest weakness at this point in the year. Anthony Spencer is still a free agent, but as of right now, both him and Ware will not be on the 2014 roster.
Currently the only proven end on the team is George Selvie. The 27-year-old started every game last season and recorded seven sacks.
The only other recognizable DE options to Dallas fans are Kyle Wilber, Tyrone Crawford and newly acquired Jeremy Mincey.
Dallas has to add another quality end before training camp starts. Whether that means drafting someone like Missouri's Kony Ealy or Scott Crichton of Oregon State, signing a free agent like Jared Allen or bringing back a veteran like Spencer, an addition is necessary.
Because the Cowboys were able to add an immediate starter on the defensive line by signing Henry Melton, I’m placing safety as the next position of need. I trust defensive tackle Nick Hayden more than any option at strong safety.
Free safety Barry Church is one of the best defenders on the Dallas roster, but he and the cornerbacks need help from the other safety spot. Dallas has a lot of young options with J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath and Matt Johnson, but none have proven anything.
In order for Dallas to be an elite team, it needs a secondary that is reliable enough to not give up huge plays. Jerry Jones needs to add a starting safety to assure that.
Chris Clemons and Charles Woodson are both free agents, while a number of prospects including Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are available in May’s draft.
When Hatcher signed elsewhere, Dallas knew it had to do something along its extremely thin defensive front. Grabbing one of the best free agents available with Melton was a substantial move, a particularly favorable one given how his contract is structured.
Though the former Pro Bowler is a key addition, Dallas should still be looking to upgrade the depth at the position.
The Cowboys didn’t realize their lack of depth last year until it seemed like guys off the street were starting. Having capable reserves is critical, especially in the trenches, and this year should be no different.
Hayden, who started every game in 2013, isn’t a bad player, but he would have more of an impact coming off the bench. Behind the starters are a lot of question marks.
Health at the NFL level is never guaranteed, so the Cowboys would be wise to get another solid tackle. There aren’t a whole lot of players in free agency anymore, but top draft prospects Aaron Donald or Timmy Jernigan would be excellent additions.
The release of Miles Austin means Dallas is almost certain to add another wide receiver sometime this offseason. This position isn’t of drastic need, but it's one where, again, more depth would be beneficial.
Dez Bryant is a stud, while Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley are very viable weapons for quarterback Tony Romo. Even though Dallas was effective through the air last year, too often defenses were able take away Bryant with double-teams.
Adding one more playmaker opposite of Bryant would discourage defenses from cheating to his side of the field.
Although a lot of the better free agent receivers have already been signed, guys like Sidney Rice and Kenny Britt remain available. There are also a number of great athletes in the draft such as Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and USC’s Marqise Lee.
Besides adding a future quarterback and a playmaker opposite Dez Bryant, the offensive line could also be addressed in this year's draft.
The unit was surprisingly successful last year, despite Brian Waters going down early.
The projected starters are Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Doug Free. Smith made his first Pro Bowl in 2013 and the rookie Frederick exceeded expectations.
As a whole, this group can easily duplicate what it did last season, but, like many other positions on the Cowboys roster, depth in this area is only so strong.
It would surprise me if Dallas added a lineman in free agency, given that it has not yet done so to this point. Nevertheless, during one of the middle rounds the team should select another piece to solidify the line.