With a very active start to the off-season for the Dallas Cowboys, one problem that still lingers is stopping the run.
The team re-signed edge rusher Dante Fowler on Wednesday. Jonathan Hankins, the defensive tackle the team traded for in October, remains unsigned.
The one glaring weakness of the defense we've all come to grasp with is the ability to stop the run. Dallas signed some offensive line depth this week, which was another issue of concern, but now its time to address this issue.
It is time to to either re-sign Hankins or start finding a replacement.
That replacement could be a current free agent, or the team could find him through the draft.
Hankins missed the end of the regular season with a pectoral strain suffered in Week 14's win over Houston, but was able to return for the playoffs.
He wasn't a superstar for the team in his time with them last season but made 7 solo tackles in three regular season starts.
In the Super Wild Card round, he also had a sack in the Cowboys' 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He's not a player that is supposed to jump off the stat sheet. Hankins is a big body to help clog the middle so the team doesn't get shredded by the run.
A few reports have noted that he isn't ready to sign anywhere yet. I don't know why that is, but for a veteran minimum deal, I would be all for it.
Last week I noted a few possible players the team could keep an eye on. Names such as Calais Campbell and Poona Ford. Both are free agents.
Ford is your typical run stuffer. He finished the year with three sacks and 14 hurries for the Seattle Seahawks. He is 5'11, and 310 pounds. Ford is a player I only knew a little about once.
I quickly learned he does exactly what he needs to do.
Hankins is 31, though, so age plays a factor in their decision if they don't sign him Hankins back. If that is the case, Campbell probably wouldn't be signed. That leaves Ford, who is only 27.
This is the best off-season the Jones family has had in YEARS. I can't remember the last time I could talk highly about the moves they've made.
They are filling out the roster nicely.
Doing so now allows them to go into the draft with no real weaknesses or holes throughout the roster.
This draft can now be about the depth and adding players for insurance. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.
Do they take the best available, regardless of position? Or do they look to take a player of the highest need?
Nonetheless, we are all in the same boat until we hear some news on the move at defensive tackle.
The next biggest weakness, stopping the run. Hope the news is soon.
It has been a great off-season with the additions of Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks—re-signing Leighton Vander Esch, Donovan Wilson, and tagging Tony Pollard.
For the first time in a long time, I am excited about this team two months after the season ended.