4 biggest Cowboys needs after signing Keanu Neal

Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons, (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons, (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Rashawn Slater, Northwestern Wildcats
Rashawn Slater, Northwestern Wildcats, (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

3. Offensive Tackle/Guard

The Dallas Cowboys have, for the better part of the past decade, rightfully been proud of their offensive line. The unit has been the backbone of the team for quite some time and was mostly built through the draft. However, the unit gave up a whopping 43 sacks last year while suffering significant injuries to key players.

With the 30-year old former All-Pro left tackle, Tyron Smith, struggling to stay on the field due to a myriad of injuries and the unexpected retiring of center Travis Frederick the unit will head into 2021 more vulnerable than it has in a long-time. The team needs to try and find the heir to Smith, bolster the depth of the unit, and possibly upgrade at left guard.

The Cowboys have also done shockingly little to address these concerns thus far besides signing 35-year old offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe. The move at least begins the process of improving the depth of the O-line, but given the fact that the team lost one of its backup offensive linemen, Cameron Erving, this offseason to the Carolina Panthers it certainly feels like the team needs to do more to address this need.

The organization would also be well served if it attempted to upgrade the interior of the offensive line as well. Currently, the position of starting left guard is slated to go to guard Connor Williams (though Connor McGovern might also compete for the role) while the starting center job is set to go to second-year center Tyler Biadasz.

Dallas will likely be forced to address these needs in the draft and fortunately, this class is stocked with quality options across the offensive line. The team could use its top pick to try and find Smith’s successor if they select either Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater or Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, though the latter is unlikely to be available to the Cowboys at the tenth overall pick.

Regardless of what the team decides to do with its first-round pick, they should absolutely address the unit’s lack of depth and (possibly) the interior of the line later in the draft. Nebraska tackle Brenden Jaimes is a player Dallas should keep its eye on during day three.

The heart and soul of the Dallas Cowboys have been rooted in its dominant offensive line for much of the past decade. With that all-important unit at risk of deteriorating the team should make sure to devote adequate resources to address this growing need during the upcoming draft.