Since I believe the biggest need this off-season for the Cowboys is at safety, I'm going to offer my breakdown of the players we currently have on the roster.
Roy Williams –
I know, obvious first pick, but Williams is coming off his seventh year in the league and deserves first mention. After all, he has been a safety on the Cowboys roster longer than any other safety here.
Sad to say though, that after Woodson retired, Williams has done little else to warrant first mention, anywhere.
He missed most of 2008 after breaking his forearm not once, but twice, and landed on IR. Many will still agree now, as we did then, that him being injured actually solved the problem of how to limit his liability on the field in coverage.
I think he still has talent, but he doesn't seem to keep his head in a game and loses focus, which leads to mistakes in all aspects of his game. If Campo, having a full season and two off-seasons to get Williams thinking like a football player again, then I say he stays. But he'd have to really wow the coaches and Jerry Jones in order to justify his salary for the year.
If he takes a pay cut, I say he stays here, but only if he takes a pay cut. I don't see him giving up enough money for the Cowboys to keep him. Personally, I'd like to see him take a shot at middle linebacker, especially if Thomas and/or Burnett leave. If his biggest weakness is coverage, then put him in a position with less coverage duties. Might work, worth a shot at least.
But overall, I don't see Roy Williams having a big future on the Dallas defense.
Keith Davis –
What can you say about this guy? He's got heart, and he's about as tough as they come; fighting through a third degree sprain in his knee to at least try to play the season finale. He did get hurt in that game, but it took more than a down or series to bring him out.
Coming back from the Dolphins in 2008, he was immediately named a team captain, a role he had assumed before. His drive exceeds his ability in many ways, but it all seems to level out on the playing field. As a safety he isn't the best we could get, he might not even be the best we have, but on special teams he is a monster and should be retained.
The Cowboys will get Davis resigned, and he should be willing now after seeing how loyal this team is to him.
Ken Hamlin –
In 2007, everyone was ready to dub this guy the next great safety for the Cowboys, and if not for his lacking leadership skills and a couple of missed plays, he might have been. Instead, Jerry gave him the big contract he wanted anyway, and since we haven't seen the same level of play from him.
He's good at getting to the ball, and he isn't easily fooled, of course it's hard to say that after the miss he had in the Baltimore game, but the guy is a good safety when he is playing his best. I don't think age or ability is slowing him down.
He needs to get himself back on track for the 2009 season, to refocus himself on his goals, and the teams goals. If he can get ready to play, I see him making a big impact next year. And if not, there are guys waiting in line behind him for a chance.
Having watched it happen to Williams over two seasons now, he knows that the coaches will make him a two down player if he doesn't improve, and fast.
Tra Battle –
Not a lot of info out there on this guy. He's been signed to practice squads and active rosters a lot, but none of it really stuck.
Thanks to an injury riddled season on defense, we got to see him play and from what I saw, he's got good enough skills to keep him around. I was particularly impressed when he was signed during the week, then on the opening kickoff he makes a very solid tackle on the returner. It caught my eye right away that #35 didn't waste time doing his job.
He looked at times like he could use a little more training, which is why it's good he's in Dallas with Phillips. The system is similar to what he's dealt with at all in his young career, and a full off-season with the team should do him good.
With the issues of depth and performance at safety on this team, I look to see #35 back in blue and silver come training camp.
Pat Watkins –
There isn't much to say about Pat, except that someone needs to show him how to protect himself better. These nagging injuries, while minor, have cost him valuable playing time recently. No doubt a missed opportunity considering the need at safety this year.
He will be back in 2009. He has displayed great upside when healthy, it's just a matter of keeping him healthy for a whole season.
Courtney Brown –
He has also had some injury problems, but nothing too major. He's displayed good quickness when he has played, which has been limited.
Maybe it's because he was a cornerback in college and drafted as such, but the transition to safety hasn't been a smooth one for him. He's a seventh round pick and has offered seventh round production thus far.
Cowboys will likely keep him due to depth concerns at the position, but look mostly to continue grooming him.
And that's it. We head into free agency and the draft with big concerns for the safety positions on this team, concerns that will have to be addresses, especially if Roy Williams is released as many expect.
Anyone have anything to add?