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2016 Cowboys Camp: What’s the Strongest Position?

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Cowboys Headlines - 2016 Cowboys Camp: Strongest Position?

In Part Three of our 2016 Camp Preview series, our writers answered what may seem like a fairly obvious question. You may be surprised, however, at some of their responses.

What is the Strongest Position on the Team?

 - Ezekiel Elliott, #21Ian Koplowitz ( @BleedingTheStar ) - I'd be hard pressed to say anything other than running back. It's the only position on this roster where you could argue we have three starters. Obviously, I'm biased, but I believe we have the best stable of runners in the league. Behind this offensive line, I think the combination of Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, and our third back can top 2,000 rushing yards this year.

Jess Haynie ( @CowboysAddicts ) - It's not sexy, but the interior offensive line is a juggernaut. Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and La'el Collins are all top talents. Backups Ron Leary and Joe Looney are both experienced veterans. Both starters and depth; it's easily the best position on the team.

Kevin Brady ( @KevinBrady88 ) - I’ve played the offensive line, particularly the center position, my entire life. Because of this I have a special appreciation for how important the center is to an offense as a whole. The Cowboys' offensive line is the best in the NFL, and while they have All-Pros at both left tackle and right guard as well, Travis Frederick is the anchor of this strong unit at center. No offensive line can reach its full potential without a strong leader in the middle, and luckily the Cowboys have that in Frederick.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Grades As League's Best

Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

RJ Ochoa ( @RJOchoa ) - If I had to take on the White Walkers from Game of Thrones, the Imperial Army from Star Wars, and the people who showed up for the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Championship parade all at once... I would want the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line leading the way for me. They're the best at what they do on this planet (and on all planets). They're the Space Cowboys.

Sean Martin ( @ShoreSportsNJ ) - Whenever one of your position units is widely considered the best in the league, it is going to be hard for another group to match their talent level. The Dallas Cowboys do not have a position that comes close to their offensive line when it comes to talent, depth, and future potential. As if Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Doug Free weren't enough, La'el Collins is going to step in as a starter at left guard and potentially make this offensive line even better. Backing him up will be a proven starter in Ronald Leary.

Brian Martin ( @bmart0204 ) - Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, Darius Jackson, and Lance Dunbar... Need I say more? The running back position is without a doubt the strongest position for the Cowboys. There’ll be a lot of eyes on this position and I for one am really looking forward to seeing how all of these RBs perform in training camp and preseason. The Cowboys are going to have some really tough decisions to make when determining who stays and who goes when they try to get down to their final 53 man roster.

Bryson Treece ( @BrysonTreece ) - The strongest group on the team is the offensive line. Not only are there four first-round rated picks in Smith, Collins, Frederick, and Martin, but you've got Tony Romo making them look good with his scrambling ability and a stud backfield ready to punish defenses.

~ ~ ~

Here are the categories still to come this week...

Part One: Best Position Battle
Part Two: Biggest Name to be Cut
Weakest Position – Thurs
Favorite Dark Horse – Fri
Most Likely Starting Job Change – Sat

All of this, and much more, as Inside The Star helps get you ready for another season of Dallas Cowboys football!



This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

Brian Martin

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REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday

According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...

Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.

Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.

This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.

Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.

This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?



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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Signed DE Kerry Hyder

The Dallas Cowboys added more defensive line help today after signing former Detroit Lions Defensive End Kerry Hyder.

Kerry Hyder Jr. on Twitter

Going back to Texas! #CowboysNation

Kerry Hyder provides more depth at the defensive end position and as a chance to become the starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence while Randy Gregory is out serving his suspension.

Hyder, 27 originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech with the New York Jets in 2014. He spent a year in New York before signing a future/reserve contract with the Detroit Lions in January 2015.

He had a breakout eight-sack year with the Lions in 2016, but tore his Achilles in 2017 causing him to miss the entire season. In 2018 he had just one quarterback sack after Detroit switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Overall, this is a good depth signing by the Dallas Cowboys. Kerry Hyder has starting potential, but shouldn't keep the Cowboys from upgrading the position further through either another free agent signing for the draft.



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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Jess Haynie

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Tavon Austin

It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.

As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.

It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.

New Arrivals

  • TE Jason Witten (unretired)
  • TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
  • DT Christian Covington (Texans)

The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.

Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.

Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley, now with the Buffalo Bills. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Departures

  • WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
  • TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
  • DL David Irving (shenanigans)
  • LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)

Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.

Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.

Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.

While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.

Keepers

  • FB Jamize Olawale
  • WR Tavon Austin
  • WR Allen Hurns (team option)
  • OT Cam Fleming
  • G/C Joe Looney (team option)
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
  • DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
  • LB Justin March-Lillard
  • S Darian Thompson

While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?

The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.

Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.

Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.

On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.

~ ~ ~

Today we're already seeing a flourish of free agent activity in Dallas. Reports this morning have them meeting with WR Randall Cobb and S Clayton Geathers, and we haven't even had lunch yet.

If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.



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