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Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?

The from Dallas is coming up quickly, on a league calendar that has not yet officially entered the new year. This hasn't stopped many teams from turning these last few weeks into opportunities for improvement, with trades, releases, and agreements all taking place.

As expected, the have been quiet. For better or worse, it feels safe to say they'll remain relatively quiet through – relying once again on this year's draft haul to contribute right away.

With ten total picks in this draft, the Cowboys are in a great position to improve the overall depth of their team. Primarily in need of starters on , the Cowboys could look to upgrade their or add another starting-caliber early in this draft.

Having recently covered a DE prospect that would make sense for the Cowboys in Harold Landry, let's compare this need to their others in a developing .

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Ends

Cowboys Planning
Dallas Cowboys DE

Current players under contract: Taco Charlton, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Charles  Tapper

Thanks to DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys sustained a pass rush for the first time in a long time this season. Setting the tone up front at the LDE position, Lawrence was a dominant pass rusher with the help of and inside.

Lawrence's dominance and ensuing that's been placed on him for 2018 may have one downside though. — the Cowboys pick of 2017 — is best at this same left end position, as he was in college.

With Tank and Taco rushing off of the strong side, and already released by the team, the Cowboys should still be in the market for their next great RDE. The days of relying on to ever become this player are unfortunately over in Dallas, although he is eligible to apply for .

Stopping here with their overall commitment to getting better in the trenches on both sides of the ball would not be smart for the Cowboys, and adding another talented pass rusher to join this solid group could have huge implications for this defense.

Dallas Cowboys Safeties

Cowboys Need Depth of 2017 Draft to Shine in 2018 1
Dallas Cowboys S

Current players under contract: Jameill Showers, Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier

Byron Jones' move from S to CB this offseason is a positive one, as it allows one of the most athletic defenders in the entire NFL to play his ideal position. His absence could be felt at safety given the Cowboys' current depth here, with plenty of potential for to work with but little experience.

With Jones, , and expected to start at CB, the Cowboys should feel great about their ability to cover on the back end. Helping these cornerbacks with adequate safety play needs to be prioritized, as should remain a rotational player.

Rookie Xavier Woods and both flashes at times in various safety roles this season, and both have the ability to play down in the box. This means that the Cowboys need at safety remains a deeper play maker, a role Jones was never able to fit.

Similarly to their situation at DE, the acquisition of another safety could help the Cowboys get the most out of the players listed above – all of whom showing enough promise/consistency to earn snaps next season.

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Although free agency is far from the Dallas Cowboys' preferred method of roster building, their approach in these coming weeks before the draft could tell a lot about their outlook on defense.

This defense is incredibly close to coming out of the shadows of the Cowboys , becoming a top unit as opposed to one responsible for “protecting the lead” and “not being the reason the Cowboys lose”.

Both and safety are not particularly deep positions in this upcoming draft, only putting further pressure on the Cowboys' self- to prepare for selecting 19th overall.

Sean Martin
Sean Martinhttp://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/
Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Chuck Wright

???? 1 tech is by far the biggest need/hole. Followed by S then LB. In fact drafting a top flight/make an impact day one 1 tech will make both LB and S instantly better. Not to mention the pass rushers.

Sean Martin

I agree with their need at 1T, but they’re not going to draft that position in the first round. DE and SAF are viable options, however.

winstar

Safety and more-so DE is down the list. I am of the opinion that LB is the priority even if we keep Hitch. That’s hard for me to admit as much as I want Vea or Payne. Tyron and Lee killed us last season with injuries. Dez and Prescott didn’t help along with Elliott’s suspension. I was proud of Morris and Smith but Elliott being gone got into Prescott’s head. The FO better get serious or we will be back here next year singing the same song. BTW, OG is a higher priority than S.

EverybodyTalks

To answer the question of DE or S ??? —- I’m going with Safety, especially with Byron going to CB. The DEs we have are a good rotation, w/o even considering the status of Randy Gregory. I agree with the comments on DT1 and that is where we could really strengthen the line. The good thing is DT1&3 are deep in this draft. The reason I say DT1&3 is because of the comment by Stephen Jones. He stated that they would consider a DT1, but only if that player also had DT3 attributes. So to me, that includes Vita and DaRon. Plus in other rounds, we could select other DT1&3s such as Nathan Shepherd, Poona Ford, Desmond Harrison, to name just a few.

David L Lamon

Better a DE if available. Without an excellent pass rush it puts too much pressure on the DB’s. Their lineback corps is not very good either and with Smith they still don’t know what they are going to get. His coverage skills suck buttermilk and he over pursues too much. This is in part due to his lack of confidence in his own playing ability and inexperience.

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