It was another year without a playoff berth in Dallas and that’s led to an aggressive approach to free agency. They’ve checked a lot of boxes by signing Brandon Carr, Dan Connor, Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernardeau, giving the team some freedom to go after the best available players in the early part of the draft. Look for that approach to have a defensive flavor.
Safety: Adding Carr helps the cornerback situation a tremendous amount, but it also shines a light on how limited the Cowboys’ safeties were last season. They added Brodney Pool as a free agent, but he didn’t set the world on fire with the Jets and a long-term answer is still needed at the position. Mark Barron from Alabama will be one of the players up for discussion when the 14th pick comes around.
Interior Offensive Line: Bernardeau and Livings are an upgrade over what the Cowboys got last season, but almost anyone would be an upgrade over what the Cowboys were working with. Depth and players who will develop into starters down the line would be important additions. They are still in need of a better center than Phil Costa as well. They won’t address this spot in the first round unless they trade down, but developmental players with upside like Amini Silatolu of Midwestern State should be on the radar.
Defensive Line: The Cowboys are okay at this spot, but a little more dynamism in the front seven would be welcomed. Adding a physical player like Dontari Poe or Michael Brockers would allow them to move Jay Ratliff around the front a bit more and get creative with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer as well. Rob Ryan’s defense was too passive last season, adding a big body up front would allow them to be more aggressive this time around.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: The departures of Laurent Robinson and Martellus Bennett leave the Cowboys thin at both spots. They should be able to add some depth later in the draft, especially at tight end where there are intriguing prospects like Orson Charles of Georgia and Ladarius Green of Louisiana-Lafayette who could earn playing time right away. There are some candidates for the third receiver spot already on the roster, but grabbing another one couldn’t hurt. If he comes with kick return skills as well, all the better.
By filling holes in free agency, the Cowboys should be able to land a mix of players who can contribute right away while also grabbing some players who blossom over a longer period of time. That’s a good combination for stability, something that hasn’t always been associated with the franchise.