Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Needs: Special Teams

    Some have argued that the words “” and “” don't belong in the same sentence as “.” But just last year, six players were drafted by NFL teams. Could the consider such a player with one of their 2019 draft picks?

    From 2009-2018, various teams have drafted 19 kickers and 18 punters. The highest pick was a second-rounder; Tampa Bay's selection of Roberto Aguayo in 2016. Outside of one pick in the and another in the fourth, the other 34 picks have all been in rounds 5-7.

    The Dallas Cowboys have only contributed one pick to this total. In 2009 they selected David Buehler in the fifth round, two years after using a sixth-round pick on .

    Ten years later, could Dallas finally use another draft pick on special teams?

    There are a few of factors that make this possible. For one, the Cowboys are already fairly loaded with talent across the roster. A late-round pick spent at any number of positions would have a hard time surviving final cuts.

    Second, in terms of the quality of player versus the round, there's no better value than on special teams. You can possibly get the best kicker in the country in the fifth or ; no other position offers that.

    Lastly, and most importantly, the Cowboys have a pretty clear opportunity to upgrade at kicker. They also could use the draft to save some cap space by making a change at punter.

    Brett Maher
    Dallas Cowboys K

    As I've written about beforeBrett Maher was a Jekyll & Hyde kicker in 2018. He was brilliant from long range but a major liability closer in, and his 80.6% total field-goal accuracy was near the bottom of the league.

    While Maher's distance is a true asset, does it outweigh the risk of him missing a game-winning FG from 35 yards? And what about extra-point kicks, for that matter?

    Dallas should certainly bring Brett back in 2019 to compete for the job. Remember, he was still 's backup until close to the start of the regular season. Perhaps a full as the primary kicker would help him stabilize his game.

    But given the uncertainty, the Cowboys could easily justify spending a late-round pick at kicker. They could potentially land 's Cole Tracy or Utah's Matt Gay, two of the top prospects in this draft class.

    The worst-case scenario is that Maher beats one of these guys and you cut them. But there was a high probability that you'd have cut whoever you drafted at another position anyway. Essentially, you'd have spent a late draft pick as an insurance policy against Maher's development.

    That's not bad business. In fact, maybe you'd be able to that kicker at final cuts to a team who suffers a or is otherwise dissatisfied at the position. There's a chance you could even recoup your draft pick.

    6 Cowboys Players Primed To Make Their First Pro Bowl
    Dallas Cowboys punter (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

    Another consideration is at punter. Chris Jones has been a very solid one for a while now, but he turns 30 in July and counts $2.3 million against the . Could the draft give Dallas a chance to get someone younger and cheaper?

    Let's say Dallas drafted one of the nation's top punters like Jack Fox out of Rice or Stanford's Jack Bailey. They'd have that player on a four-year rookie deal costing roughly 20% of what Jones' does.

    Dallas could trade or Chris Jones for $800k in 2019 cap relief, or $1.8 million if he's cut after June 1st. That would push $1 million of dead money onto the 2020 cap.

    Those aren't big numbers, so the real gain here is if you think one of the top rookie punters could match or even exceed Jones' play. Then you've got that player on the cheap for the next four seasons.

    I would not predict that the Cowboys will spend a draft pick at either kicker or punter, but the point of all this is that you can't entirely dismiss it. 2019 presents the right mix of circumstances for Dallas to consider it more than they have in the past, especially considering how long Dan Bailey was a fixture on the roster.

    Brett Maher doesn't enjoy that same status. Dallas could easily look at some of the top kickers available and think that an upgrade is possible.

    Will that lead to the Cowboys spending a draft pick on special teams for the first time in a decade?

    Draft Likelihood: 10%
    Projected Round: *6th-7th

    * The Cowboys don't currently have a 6th-round pick, but could acquire one in a potential trade.

    ~ ~ ~

    Other Draft Needs Articles
    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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    I have been saying this all along. About our K, anyway. The ability to hit a FG from 60 yds out in no way offsets the reliability of being automatic from 45 yds and in. Let’s face it, if you kick from 50+ yds the chances are small that you’re going to split those uprights continuously. And if you miss, the other team’s got excellent field position. Better to have a K who is continuously accurate from 45-50 yds and in but still has the leg strength to have a decent shot at hitting those long ones when necessary, like in the last seconds of a tie game or when you HAVE to split them in OT or the game is over. But missing extra points, which should be automatic, is a must. So is a 38 yd FG. So I definitely wouldn’t have a problem with us spending a late round pick on a K. If Maher hasn’t improved dramatically from last season then we need a new K badly. At P, I really don’t see the need for the use of a draft pick. Jones has been good, especially at angling punts to down the team inside their own 10-20 yd line. Coffin-corner kicking is an important asset. We could bring in a FA for competition. One other thing I’d like to say about ST and that is using Heath as the leader. He’s never going to be a great S but with his heart and work ethic, he COULD be another Bill Bates. His football intelligence, heart & work ethic are what keeps him on the team. We usually have pretty good ST, which is a much more important part of the team than it’s given credit for. But another thing we have needed for years is an explosive PR. Austin is the obvious choice here. He’s extremely dangerous when he gets the ball in open space. He has vision, speed and decent hands. Since KR is pretty much a moot position now, PR is where we need a playmaker and Austin can definitely be that. I hope that’s what Garrett has planned.

    Ahad, Holy Dabir of Aleppo

    If we even think about spending a pick on a K or P, I will riot