Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Dallas Cowboys. [full archive here].
Season Recap – Like most seasons, the Cowboys were heavily favored to contend for the Super Bowl, but things quickly got out of hand. Tony Romo broke his clavicle in week six and the team slumped to a 0-8 record. Wade Phillips was fired at mid-season and the team was handed over to Jason Garrett. Garrett, who has been a popular coaching candidate the past couple seasons, got more fight out the team and managed to finish the year on a 5-3 record. Owner Jerry Jones saw enough and hired Garrett to become the permanent head coach. Dallas finished the year ranked 7th in total offense, but 31st in points allowed. Dallas needs to improve their defense if they intend on being included in the “preseason favorites” talks again.
1. Cornerback – Terrence Newman lost a step last season, and at 32 don’t expect him to gain it back. Mike Jenkins basically took the season off but that attitude won’t fly with new coach Jason Garrett. Jenkins needs to get back to his 2009 form, and the Cowboys need to get an upgrade across from him. Prince Amukamara has been linked to the Cowboys in many mock drafts, but I expect Amukamara to go before the Cowboys. Dallas could make a trade up for Peterson or Amukamara, or they could reach a bit for Jimmy Smith at #9.
2. Offensive Tackle – Mark Colombo is not a great option at RT and will be 33 next season. Improved LT Doug Free is set to become a free agent, but Dallas will try hard to retain his talents. Athletic Tyron Smith from USC is climbing up draft boards at the start of the combine and could be in play for Dallas as the number one offensive tackle taken. Dallas could potentially have new starters at both tackle positions next season.
3. Defensive End – Marcus Spears is likely to leave in free agency, which leaves Igor Olshansky as the only capable D-end on the roster. Igor is best served as a rotational guy so at least one new starter is needed. JJ Watt would be a great selection in the first round.
4. Safety – Dallas has needs at both safety positions due to Sensabaugh’s departure in free agency along with the horrendous play of Alan Ball. There are not many great safety prospects in this year’s draft, but there are capable players that could be obtained in the middle rounds. Deandre McDaniel and Ahmad Black come to mind.
5. Offensive Guard – Left guard Kyle Kosier will be a free agent, and Leonard Davis, 32, struggled last season. Dallas needs to inject some youth into the lineup as they transition into the Jason Garrett era. Dallas could opt to sign a free agent guard such as Davin Joseph or Robert Gallery.