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Dallas Cowboys Will Place More Value on Defensive Tackle Position

The Dallas Department is in Mobile, Alabama for the this week, getting their first in-person look at many of the players that will be available to them and the rest of the NFL during the 2020 . The Senior Bowl gives the an opportunity to sit down with players that are of interest and get to know them as a person. They’ve already done a lot of the film work, but this gives them more information as to how the player practices and what he looks like against some of the best seniors heading into the NFL Draft.

Dallas Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel, Will McClay, spoke with the media on Wednesday and gave some insight on what the may look like under new .

“At the end of the day, we’re going to stay within the same scheme, and we’re going to do things a little bit different. So our job is to go and evaluate all the players. They might want bigger interior players, so that’s fine. We’ll go and look for that. But I think we’re going to be looking for the same type of players.”

Will McClay via DallasCowboys.com

This potentially marks a change in the way the Cowboys view the defensive position.

Under and , the Cowboys generally shopped in the clearance section for their defensive tackles. They’ve spent a premium pick on a defensive tackle only twice since 2010, despite getting average to below-average production from the position. (2nd round, 2019) and (3rd round, 2016) were the only defensive tackles drafted in the first three rounds of the draft under Rod Marinelli as Defensive Coordinator. They haven’t spent a pick on a defensive tackle since 1991 when they selected Russell Maryland.

They’ve been very good at finding the diamonds in the rough, but haven’t been willing to invest in the free-agent market or with a first-round pick to find a potentially elite player in the middle of the defense. The preference was placed on low-cost players that could penetrate and get pressure on the . Obviously, in recent years, that’s had a negative effect on the way the Cowboys play the run.

With a change in the defensive comes a change in the way they value certain positions. And it sounds like Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan has Will McClay and his staff on the hunt for some guys who can play in the middle.

One area the Dallas Cowboys have to improve in 2020 is in stopping the run. The Cowboys were 11th in the NFL in total rushing yards allowed at 103.5 per game. However, they also allowed the 10th highest expected points added in the at 25.1 points. The only saw 407 rushing attempts in 2019, which was 20th in the NFL. Teams were very efficient running the ball against the Dallas Cowboys and would have gained more yards on the ground with more opportunities.

The NFL Draft is still more than three months away, but we’re already getting a glimpse of what this staff and personnel department will be looking for. They have several areas to upgrade in and the draft and if they want to take a step forward in 2020, they have to hit on those acquisitions. With Maliek Collins, and slated to be in 2020, the Cowboys have some serious work to do to retool the interior of the Cowboys and it appears that they may be ready to spend to improve the middle.

What do you think?

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Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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6 Comments

  1. That is totally my reason for want Marillie out, his thought on the position was holding us back. I truly believe if that had a very good 1tech our LBers would have been so beat up. If they get that position fix then we see if that were the problem with LBers going forward.

  2. Very Good!!! For years, I’ve been sending the Dallas Cowboys “Mock Drafts” with defensive tackles that carried not only talent but some very good size (325+) to no avail.

  3. Here is a mock draft where we go DT 1st pick
    DETAILS
    1 Team, 7 Round

    TEAM NEEDS

    CB, S, IDL, EDGE, WR, TE, IOL, OT

    ROUND:

    All
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    My Picks
    17

    Javon Kinlaw

    , IDL
    South Carolina

    51

    Hunter Bryant

    , TE
    Washington

    82

    K’Von Wallace

    , S
    Clemson

    113

    Anfernee Jennings

    , EDGE
    Alabama

    146

    Stanford Samuels III

    , CB
    Florida State

    208

    JD Spielman

    , WR
    Nebraska

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