An endless amount of speculation could be made for how the Cowboys should use their 10th overall pick this season.
The case could be made for any position on the defense with the number of needs on this team.
This year alone, many players are hitting free agency, and most of them are starters or have big roles on the field.
Let’s go through some of their biggest needs, and then you can decide what should be the pick in the first round.
Secondary // Xavier Woods, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis
All three players came from the 2017 draft class and flashed potential at various times. However, injuries derailed Chido for a good portion of his time in Dallas which leads to believe that he could resign on a one-year deal. During his four seasons with the Cowboys, Chido only has one full season under his belt. In each season, he’s been able to snatch an interception, but that might not be enough reason to keep him around.
Jourdan, on the other hand, has been known for being the risk-taker of the group. His interceptions normally come off incredibly athletic plays, as do his sacks. Another good note for Lewis has been his availability, as everyone has seen him play in at least 15 of the 16 games every year. Yet fans watch him get beat by the bigger receivers more often than not, which could also be why he is not returning.
Woods exceeded fans’ expectations as a sixth-round pick by becoming a starter early on. Much like Lewis, Woods has also been a steady player for the team health-wise. He’s missed less than 5 games since entering the league and leads his fellow teammates in interceptions during his time here. On top of being a player that can snatch the ball in mid-air, he’s also laid out some opponents that turned into force fumbles. Overall he’s become an accountable player on the field at a depleted position.
Defensive Line // Aldon Smith, Tyrone Crawford
While the addition of Aldon proved to be a great decision both on and off the field, Dallas couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. The pressure brought by Aldon led him to five sacks even after not playing football in nearly half a decade. Smith became a great compliment to Demarcus Lawrence, much like Robert Quinn did in 2019.
After seeing the potential in Aldon, there is little doubt that he will find a new home in March, leaving Dallas with a gaping hole once again.
Tyrone Crawford may be a team favorite due to his leadership and abilities to play inside and outside on the line, but with his contract coming to an end, the Cowboys will look to replace him this draft. The amount of money Crawford is searching for just doesn’t fit in with Dallas’ cap anymore. Although Randy Gregory made his return, there is still plenty of room to upgrade at the position.
Linebackers // Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee
Leighton was the first-round pick in 2018, where he had a remarkable rookie season that flashed his ability to become a top-tier player. The problem with Leighton that constantly comes up is his durability. Over the past two seasons, he’s missed 13 games due to injuries. This leads us to ask if he will be a long-term option for Dallas.
What’s the point of having a Ferrari when it’s just sitting in the garage come race time?
Jaylon has been the opposite of Leighton in terms of being healthy. He’s yet to miss a game since the 2017 season and has over 400 tackles in the last three years. So why should Dallas replace a player like him? The Cowboys could save over 7 million towards the cap by cutting Smith post-June 1st. While the stats tell one story, the film tells a different one. Jaylon’s comeback story is phenomenal, but there is still much room for growth, especially when considering his new contract.
Now Sean Lee is very different from these other two linebackers. Lee has been the mind of the defense for over 10 seasons in Dallas. His mind isn’t the issue here, but rather his health is. During his tenure in Dallas, Lee has only played in 15 or more games three times in his career. Relying on Sean to be a crucial part of your defense is a tough pill to swallow and one that could be costly later down the road.
Every year new players come into the league, but with owning a top 10 pick, comes great responsibility; that responsibility will be to find the best player that the Cowboys feel can help turn this team around.
This team doesn’t have a shortage of needs, so that should free them up to take the best player available come April 29th.
Stick around with us as we get closer to draft day, and the 1001 possibilities become clearer.
Featured Image: The Oklahoman