Over valuing veteran depth
The talk before training camp started was the crazy depth the Dallas Cowboys roster had along the defensive and offensive line. This has been validated as vice president Stephen Jones stated this week that they are receiving trade calls for both these positions. Here what Jones said according to Pro Football Talk.
"“We do get calls on both offensive and defensive lines. We’ve made that a priority over the years, and it’s a strength of ours, and some teams are interested in it.”"
The Cowboys have been wise to build their roster with quality offensive and defensive lines. The three Super Bowls in four years run in the 1990s was a product of stout lines that enabled offensive talents like quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and wide receiver Michael Irvin to thrive and their fast and athletic linebackers to make tackles.
It will be a mistake to hold on to all their depth if teams are willing to trade better than seventh round draft picks. Prime candidates for trade include guard Xavier Su’a-Filo or guard/center Joe Looney (to be clear – only one should be traded) and defensive tackle Christian Covington.
Trading backups for future picks must be a consideration to increase your chances to find players like 2017 six round safety Xavier Woods and 2016 six round corner Anthony Brown. For every Woods or Brown picked late in the draft, there are picks like 2017 sixth round corner Marquez White and 2016 sixth round tight end Rico Gathers that don’t turn out.
Former coach Jimmy Johnson is often credited for his draft success which led to the three Super Bowls in four years. What is quickly overlooked is that he used a volume approach knowing that he would miss on picks and that his chances of hitting increased the more picks he had.
Not only would a trade net draft pick compensation but it will free up roster spots for younger players and save about $1 million in cap money. On offense, guard/tackle Brandon Knight or center/guard Adam Redmond might be a drop in ability this year compared to Looney or Su’a-Filo but will provide longer term options. On defense, Daniel Wise will be a numbers casualty but his four years of team control and rookie contract are worthwhile to keep around.