The Dallas Cowboys are done with the draft, but that doesn’t mean they are finished preparing for the 2018 season. It was going to be a challenge to fill all their holes in the draft, they just didn’t have the capital to make that happen.
We identified five major holes on their roster leading up to the draft and the Cowboys did well to upgrade three of them in the first three rounds: linebacker, guard, and wide receiver. Dallas threw a few extra resources at linebacker and wide receiver, including trading for Tavon Austin, but needed just one stud to complete their offensive line.
The holes left are defensive tackle and safety, neither position was helped during last week’s draft. The team traded for Jihad Ward, but we cannot make a judgment on him yet. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli may have liked the way he played in the Senior Bowl a few years ago and the Oakland Raiders might have been playing him out of position, but we need to see him on the field before we say the Cowboys addressed the defensive tackle position.
However, help could be on the way. The Cowboys appear to still be interested in trading for Earl Thomas and a deal for the veteran safety almost happened for pick 50 in the draft. But with Connor Williams available, the Cowboys found the need for a young guard too good to pass up. Dallas then offered up pick 81 but never heard back from the Seahawks, so they selected a great consolation prize in Michael Gallup.
Perhaps a deal can be made for Thomas before the season. If that happens, the Cowboys would have upgraded in a major way.
The Cowboys may also be reuniting with an old friend to play the one-technique. Terrell McClain was released by the Washington Redskins and de facto GM Will McClay said it’s a possibility the team could bring him back. McClain, though often injured, played well in his three years in Dallas and would help the defensive tackle group.
It could have all turned out very differently if the team drafted a different way. Jerry Jones mentioned they had trade offers but didn’t move. If the Cowboys had traded down into the mid-twenties, they very likely still would have gotten their man, Leighton Vander Esch, and picked up a third-round pick. Or they could have drafted Isaiah Wynn after trading back and picked up an extra third-round draft choice. Either way, trading back would have given them the draft capital needed to trade for Earl Thomas and still have gotten the wide receiver they coveted and a good linebacker in round three.
We saw how it all played out; the Cowboys simply wanted their guys and they stuck to their board. The organization loved Vander Esch and Williams, picked them both, and by doing so, may have given up Thomas.
This seems like a fair tradeoff, the Cowboys desperately needed a linebacker and they love to run the football. Both were needs that got immediate help.
As it stands right now, however, the Cowboys still have issues at defensive tackle and safety. There is no Terrell McClain or Earl Thomas, the defense could use both. The team also doesn’t seem interested in any of the other free agent safeties on the market.
The draft helped the Dallas Cowboys but there is more work to do, let’s see how the team fills some of the voids still on the roster.
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