Each offseason, each NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the Dallas Cowboys is looking better these days?
Training camp begins later this month for all 32 NFL teams. So that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we are going to take a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which it made the most strides this offseason. We have already looked at the AFC East. We start the NFC East with the defending champion Dallas Cowboys.
You can look at the Dallas Cowboys’ mediocre ranking in total defense (14th in NFL) this past season in two ways. Jason Garrett’s club allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league. But was that because teams didn’t get a lot of time on the field thanks to a ball-control ground attack. In any case, only six teams in the NFL gave up more passing yards per game than the 2016 NFC East champions. So why drive when you can fly?
We saw a slew of free-agent defections (Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox) in the secondary this offseason. To counteract that, Dallas inked free-agent corner Nolan Carroll (Philadelphia Eagles) and in April selected four defensive backs in the draft.
Still, we feel it’s the defensive line that showed the most improvement over the last few months. This despite the one-year suspension of end Randy Gregory. The team will be without David Irving the first four games of the season as well.
Hence, Dallas tripled its pleasure in April’s draft by selecting three defensive linemen. It started with University of Michigan end Taco Charlton with the 28th overall pick. Dallas then used two of its three choices in the seventh round to grab Joey Ivie (7-Florida) and Jordan Carrell (7c-Colorado). That’s a lot of youth to replace the likes of free-agent defectors such as Terrell McClain (Washington Redskins) and Jack Crawford (Atlanta Falcons). In free agency, the Cowboys added a little veteran insurance by signing defensive tackle Stephen Paea, late of the Cleveland Browns. They also grabbed journeyman defensive end Damonte Moore.
Now combine those additions with the likes of three-year pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence, 2016 team sack-leader Benson Mayowa (6) and promising defensive tackle Maliek Collins (5 sacks). This is a group that could grow into something substantial.
The Dallas Cowboys have relied on their talented offensive front to in essence hide their defensive deficiencies of recent seasons. It’s time for the latter side of the football to do its part.