The Cowboys defensive line does not lack talent, but for some reason, it does lack production.
A year ago, Dallas’ defensive line, led by DeMarcus Lawrence, was considered one of the best in the league.
This year… not so much. Robert Quinn was incredible, but other than that, the D-line (along with the rest of the defense) was not super exciting and it looks like it could be difficult to improve.
Both defensive tackles and Robert Quinn are all free agents, so depending on what the free agency period looks like in Dallas, the Cowboys will likely be in the market for a defensive lineman in the 2020 draft.
Here are 5 guys (three DTs, two edge rushers) that that Cowboys might target in April.
Raekwon Davis, listed at 6’6, 312, is a big man. But he matches his size with his explosive speed, which makes him hard to move in the run game. As a sophomore, Davis recorded sixty-nine tackles (ten for loss) and eight and a half sacks.
Since then, his pass-rushing numbers have declined, but he has remained essentially unstoppable in the run game. The Cowboys lack interior size and speed on the defensive line, and Raekwon Davis could be the answer to that problem. According to Tankathon.com Davis is projected to be taken as a late first-rounder or an early second-rounder.
His stats may not be as impressive as some of the other defensive tackle prospects, but Jordan Elliott is a beast. Elliott, 6’4, 315 lbs., recorded forty-four tackles (eight and a half for loss) and two and a half sacks. His pass-rushing numbers are underwhelming, but that is not what the Cowboys need.
The Cowboys need a plugin in the middle of the line, and Jordan Elliott might be that guy. Elliott will likely be a day two selection, and if he is on the board, the Cowboys will pick him.
Ross Blacklock, DT (TCU)
Former TCU DT, L.J. Collier, was taken in the first round in 2019, and by many accounts, Ross Blacklock is a better player than him. The 6’4, 305 lb. interior lineman missed his entire sophomore year due to an Achilles injury but came back just as strong. He recorded forty tackles (nine for loss) and three and a half sacks but did a lot more than what the stats demonstrate. His run stopping ability is what makes him an intriguing prospect for the Dallas Cowboys.
While some mock drafts have Blacklock being selected in the first round, but it is more likely that he will be a day two pick in the NFL Draft.
A.J. Epenesa, EDGE (Iowa)
AJ Epenesa went on quite a tear towards the end of the 2019 season and put himself towards the top of a lot of draft boards. In the final four games of the season, Epenesa recorded seven sacks, putting him at a total of eleven and a half sacks and fourteen tackles for loss on the year.
Unlike the prior three prospects, Epenesa is an edge rusher and gets to the quarterback often. Epenesa is a first-round talent and depending on what the Cowboys do in free agency, he could be Dallas’ man.
Weaver had a very productive senior season, recording thirteen and a half sacks and nineteen and a half tackles for loss. Based on the history that Dallas has with Boise State prospects, it would not surprise me if they took a look at Curtis Weaver.
He is a fast, powerful player who gets to the quarterback often and could solve the criticisms that the Cowboys O-line took last season. If the Cowboys need a pass rusher on day two, Weaver could be their guy.