The Cowboys were unwilling to meet Earl Thomas‘ contract demands in free agency, but they did sign George Iloka. While Iloka isn’t Thomas, his addition does ease the team’s concerns about the position.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said getting a safety with the team’s first choice — 58th overall — isn’t a necessity. At the same time, the Cowboys used six of their 30 national visits on the position, indicating they will strongly consider a player at that position in the second round.
Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram (pictured), Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Boston College’s Will Harris, Washington’s Taylor Rapp, Virginia’s Juan Thornhill and Michigan State’s Khari Willis were among the Cowboys’ visitors, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reports.
“I think you can always improve any position,” Jones said. “Obviously, if you look at the resources we have there in terms of money or quality of pick, it’s probably got the least amount of resources that have put toward any position on our team is the safety position. Xavier [Woods] was a later pick, [Jeff] Heath was a later pick. Kavon [Frazier] was a later pick. Iloka, we got him in free agency, but I wouldn’t say we broke the bank bringing him to Dallas.
“If a really good safety showed up we think can improve us at some point in the draft that could certainly upgrade us in terms of that particular position.”
Woods, Heath, Iloka and Frazier are the top safeties on the roster. Heath started all 16 games at strong safety, and Woods started 14 at free safety.
Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys covet safeties who can play either spot.
Whether the Cowboys take a safety in the second round or not, it’s a good bet they will end up with one before the third day of the draft ends.
“Obviously we’ve looked at playmaking safeties and haven’t been able to get deals done,” Jones said. “If we see the right guy there at the right price and he does all the things as Jason mentioned — versatility’s a big part of it. If you find the right player at that position, then it certainly warrants not only a high pick but it can warrant big contracts.”