It seems like each Spring during the Jason Garrett/Stephen Jones-led era we have similar discussions about the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive tackle depth.
For starters, it is universally agreed on that they need to add more talent on the inside of their defensive line. Then, the arguments over how they should add that talent begins.
Jones has long-said he isn’t a fan of free agency, where “good players get paid like great players.” Of course, ignoring one of the major asset-acquiring markets each year is foolish, but the Cowboys try to shop on a budget during free agency each Spring. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it feels like low-risk/high-reward because of the lack of cost per contract.
If you are going to basically skip out on free agency, or at least skip out on adding the “high priced” guys, then you need to nail the draft each year. Luckily in recent years the Cowboys have done an excellent job of adding talent through the draft, finding value picks throughout all three days.
The one area they seem to absolutely refuse to spend high capital on, however, whether in the draft or free agency, is the defensive tackle position. Rather than use their best assets to acquire defensive tackle talent, which they do need, they bargain shop across other team’s discards and practice squads each year.
Rarely do we go into a season thinking highly of who the Cowboys are rotating in at defensive tackle, but rarely are we actually disappointed in the results those “no-name” players produce on Sunday’s.
Players like Antwaun Woods seem to emerge each season for the Cowboys under Rod Marinelli, finding their way and making the front office look smart for avoiding the use of their first round pick on a defensive tackle.
But, this year, when you look around the roster there are very few glaring holes. In fact, you could argue there are none. Certainly the Cowboys need to improve in multiple areas, but there doesn’t seem to be one spot which supersedes all other needs on paper.
The Cowboys can go a lot of different directions with their second round pick. They could add another pass catcher, whether at receiver or tight end, to solidify their passing attack and aid Dak Prescott every way they can. They can draft a safety and add talent to the “weakness” of their young secondary.
Or, maybe, they will finally value the defensive tackle position in a way they haven’t really done before, selecting an interior run stuffer and improving the middle of their defense. If this is the route, and the right player is taken, the Cowboys could end up boasting one of the best front sevens in all of football.
There’s no telling the direction the Cowboys will decide to go just yet, though early comments from Stephen Jones do point towards tight end.
Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on how closely the Cowboys watch some of these defensive tackles over the next few months, as they narrow down their board and key in on some targets at 58th overall.