The Dallas Cowboys have the 17th overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Which position needs to be addressed first?
The Dallas Cowboys have officially entered their offseason with their final game, a 47-16 blowout of the Washington Redskins on Sunday, ending their 2019 run with a disappointing 8-8 record. The Cowboys now shift their focus to a successful campaign for next year.
One of only three teams in the league that ended their season with a .500 record, the Cowboys have earned themselves the 17th overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. And already media members, draft analysts, and fans are projecting which top prospect might land in Dallas come April.
First things first, the Cowboys must decide the future of their head coach position and any subsequent staff changes afterward. Then comes free agency, with several big names scheduled to hit the open market in March. Names like quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and cornerback Byron Jones.
There’s a good chance Dallas will use the franchise tag to retain one of those big names. The Cowboys could also opt to allow one or more of them to test the market, although that seems unlikely in the case of Prescott as franchise quarterbacks are highly-coveted.
With the understanding that changes to the team’s coaching staff, philosophies, and roster are all in flux, we look at the Cowboys’ current roster and try to determine the team’s biggest need. Here’s how DallasCowboys.com staff writer David Helman responded to a recent mailbag question about that very subject.
"“Defensively, I agree this team needs an upgrade at defensive tackle and at safety. Don’t ignore cornerback, because we don’t know what the future holds for Byron Jones and Anthony Brown. On offense, I’d love to see them draft a dynamic tight end or a top tier slot receiver.”"
For me, safety continues to be the biggest lingering need for this team. And the fact the Cowboys inquired about a possible trade for All-Pro New York Jets safety Jamal Adams at the trading deadline this year proves the Dallas brass feels they need a significant upgrade as well.
Barring a move for Adams this offseason, the Cowboys could certainly use their first-round selection in 2020 on a safety. And the current favorite appears to be LSU’s Grant Delpit, a 6-foot-3, 203-pound defender whose racked up 59 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, seven pass defends and two interceptions in 13 games as a junior for the undefeated Tigers.
In the past, the Dallas Cowboys have been reluctant to draft a defensive tackle high unless it’s for a three-technique disruptor that could act as a pass rusher. Coaching and scheme changes could alter that philosophy in 2020.
A cornerback could certainly be a first-round consideration if Byron Jones isn’t retained. And a top-end tight end could also be in the mix if Jason Witten ultimately decides to retire again. As for slot receivers, that prospect would have to be a generational player in order to garner a selection that high.