This offseason saw the Dallas Cowboys lose some defensive linemen and sign some. Is it still a position of need heading into the draft?
The defensive line is a crucial part of any NFL team’s defense. This offseason, the Dallas Cowboys watched as their sack leader left the team. This was after an already questionable season for the defense as a whole.
Dallas has, however, managed to acquire some well-known names. The defensive line has been a focal point for the team to improve, but after the recent signings, is it still a position of need?
To start, a change in the coaching staff should help the Cowboys defensive line. Last season, it appeared as if there was no answer to anything that was going wrong against Dallas’ defense.
As of right now, America’s team lost two starting linemen, with one fetching a nice contract in free agency. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins signed with the Las Vegas Raiders and defensive end Robert Quinn signed with the Chicago Bears.
That means that 14.5 sacks and 54 tackles have left from last season. This was all while the defense was the big question around the team. They were ninth in yards against and 11th in points against.
The departure of 14.5 sacks is a very concerning point for Dallas. That is if it was left without being addressed. But even then, would the Cowboys be in that worse of a position?
The reason I ask that is there are two returning players who did not play (or barely played) last season. Defensive end Randy Gregory will likely return after filing for reinstatement, and defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is returning after undergoing surgery on his hip.
The return of both linemen would give the Cowboys a much-needed boost. When adding their stats from the 2018 season, Dallas would “get back” 11.5 sacks and 59 tackles.
That’s not all too far off from what left the team this offseason. You can even say that it breaks even since Gregory’s stats came while playing only 45 percent of Dallas’ defensive snaps.
Add in the signings of two interior linemen in Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. While both players likely have their best seasons behind them, they are still steady starters. McCoy had a respectable 5.0 sacks and 37 tackles, while Poe had 4.0 sacks and 22 tackles in only 11 games.
When considering how much the return of Gregory and Crawford will help Dallas, adding McCoy and Poe tops it off. The defensive line’s starting spots are filled out. So I ask again, is the defensive line still a priority heading into the draft?
I wouldn’t consider it a priority, but adding a young stud would surely be great. It wouldn’t hurt to add a piece to eventually take over for either Crawford, Poe, or McCoy. Especially when you consider they are aged 29 and older.
In a couple of years, someone will need to take the reins. Will 2019 second-round pick, Trysten Hill, be that guy? Will Dallas wait until the time comes to fill that hole?
Either way, the defensive line is in a good spot at the moment. The depth or someone to sit back a couple of seasons is the things the Cowboys should be looking at. High draft picks should be used on defensive backs or a wide receiver.