There has been a lot of noise surrounding the Dallas Cowboys needing to address the defensive line and defensive backs. What about their linebacker depth?
Having a team full of stars is great, but what happens if that player suffers an injury? Maybe that player needs to take a snap or two off. You can’t leave your team exposed by weak depth.
The Dallas Cowboys have this issue regarding their linebackers. The starters are great, but if one suffers an injury, it becomes a huge problem. The Cowboys need linebacker depth.
When you look at the lineup, you can see the starters are great. The trio of Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch, and Jaylon Smith forces the offense to pick which Pro Bowler they want to be tackled by. The trio combines for four Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro.
The veteran of the group is Lee, who entered the league in 2010, albeit missing a ton of games due to various injuries. He has taken the young Vander Esch and Smith under his wing and showed them how to excel in the league.
The one problem with all three linebackers is that all have a bad injury history. Lee just played his first full season in a reduced role, Smith had a devastating knee injury and missed his entire rookie season, and Vander Esch was out for seven games due to a neck injury.
It was Thomas who was leaned on while Vander Esch was injured last season. Thomas started the last two games of the season and played decently making 33 tackles, forcing one fumble, and defending one pass.
After Thomas, March-Lillard steps into the picture. With only 44 snaps, he was able to make six tackles and defend one pass. In an even more limited role, Gifford was able to make six tackles.
As you can see, there isn’t much depth here. Not to mention Lee isn’t getting younger and injuries are unpredictable. Using a mid to late-round pick on a linebacker would be ideal to address the depth.
It is unsure if the Cowboys are looking at the 24-year-old Gifford as someone to groom for the future. Regardless, having another prospect here would be great to learn from the veteran Lee before he retires.
Addressing the starting holes is where all the attention is, and rightfully so. It is important, however, to make sure you don’t forget the depth and suffer come an injury.