One of the biggest priorities for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, as it has been for quite a while now, is upgrading the safety position. Unlike in years past, they quickly jumped on the opportunity to address this need in free agency and added veteran Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on a one-year deal.
This was a significant signing for several reasons. First, it gives the Cowboys an instant upgrade over long-time starter Jeff Heath after he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. Clinton-Dix provides the organization with its potential starter opposite Free Safety Xavier Woods in 2020 and possibly going forward. He’s only 27 years old so there’s still plenty of football left in him, and if he performs well, the Cowboys could have a valuable piece in their secondary far beyond this upcoming season if he’s brought back.
Even with this being true the Cowboys can’t move forward thinking they have the safety position taken care of. As mentioned earlier, Clinton-Dix is on a one-year deal so that alone doesn’t provide any stability beyond 2020, especially if the experiment backfires. The smart thing to do would be to add another safety in the draft to go along with Clinton-Dix, and there are some very good ones in this year’s class to choose from.
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Delpit is the top safety on most draft boards. Not only does he possess the skill set to cover a wide range of different types of receivers but his 6’2 213-pound frame allows him to be physical in coverage against tight ends. He performs well in man or zone coverage and is willing to play in the box and provide run support when needed. His speed allows him to make plays screens and set the edge in the backfield.
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
At 6’1 200 pounds, McKinney has the size you want at safety. His speed allows him to cover speedy receivers deep. You can slide him inside to cover slot receivers, much like the skill set of safety Donovan Wilson the Cowboys drafted in the sixth round in last year’s draft out of Texas A&M. He’s shown the ability to cause turnovers with five interceptions and six forced fumbles, which is something the Cowboys defense has lacked for quite some time.
Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Chinn is a large safety at 6’3 221 pounds. He’s extremely athletic for his size as he produced an 11’6″ broad jump and an amazing 41-inch vertical in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash which is impressive for a man carrying his frame. He plays a very physical style not only against the pass but the run as well. Maybe his most impressive attribute is his ball skills, as evident by his 13 career interceptions and six forced fumbles in college.
Those aren’t the only safeties to keep an eye on for the Cowboys. Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr, Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger, and Georgia’s J.R. Reed are players to remember also. It’s a very solid safety class in 2020 and the Cowboys would be foolish not to add one.