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Ranking the Dallas Cowboys Offseason Acquisitions

Though they may not have been the moves that many in Cowboys Nation were hoping for heading into the offseason, the were very active after the initial spending spree the first week of free agency. While several teams paid a ton of money to during the initial stages, the Cowboys took a breath and continued to execute their game plan.

The Cowboys' front office stuck to their game plan of filling their needs in the free agent pool to allow them to stay true to their draft board. When the NFL Draft comes at the end of the month, the Cowboys won't be locked into needing to draft any particular position.

As far as free agency the Cowboys are concerned, mission accomplished.

So, before the draft comes, let's take a look at each move and the significance of the acquisition power style.

1. Robert Quinn, Defensive End

Robert Quinn comes to the Dallas Cowboys with 69 sacks over his eight year career and is a starter at right day one. Yes, he comes with some concerns, but over the last couple of years, he's only missed two games (in 2017), while compiling 15 sacks combined.

In the five seasons in which Quinn started at least 14 games, he's averaged 11 sacks a season. Even if you take away the 19 that he had in 2012, Quinn still averaged nine sacks a season in the other four years where he started at least 14 games.

He brings speed, agility, bend, and finish to the right side of the defensive line and is a player that demands attention in addition to Cowboys All-Pro Defensive End .

When the Cowboys line up in September, they'll feature one of the best duos in the NFL. Getting Quinn for a 2020 pick and a reduced contract, is a huge get for the . No other move will have as much of an impact as Quinn will on the Dallas Cowboys in 2019.

2. Kerry Hyder, Defensive Line

They say that you can never have too many pass rushers, and while many would point to as the next most important signing to Robert Quinn, I'd argue that it's Defensive Lineman Kerry Hyder.


Hyder comes over from the Detroit Lions where he spent 2018 playing nose tackle for Matt Patricia's 3-4 . At 270 pounds.

I don't know what Hyder did to Matt Patricia for the Lions to play him that out of position, but Hyder was incredibly undersized to play the 0-tech defensive tackle position.

In 2017, Hyder tore his achilles and that was a year after he exploded for eight sacks in 2016 after playing a full season for the first time in his career. Eight sacks are nothing to sneeze at. In Hyder, you have a player who can play inside at 3-tech and then also play defensive end on both ends of the line.

If he can find some of that pass rush magic from 2016, the Cowboys are getting another pass rusher with inside and outside ability like . With Hyder's ability to play inside, you could potentially see a third and long situation with Quinn, Hyder, Crawford, and Lawrence all playing together.

That gives me visions of the 2007 New York Giants team that would rush four defensive ends on passing downs.

3. Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver

Is Randall Cobb as good as Cole Beasley in creating separation? No. Is Randall Cobb a good slot wide receiver? Absolutely.

Cobb's a different player than Beasley, but he's every bit the player. Cobb is a good route runner. He's not necessarily as quick as Beasley is, but he finds a way to make things happen in the slot and can beat one-on-one coverage and find holes in the zone.

Per Next Gen Stats, Randall Cobb and Cole Beasley both created 2.9 yards of separation at the catch point in 2018.

What Cobb brings to the table is a player who can play on the outside of the formation as well as in the slot. This allows you to move Amari Cooper around the formation more, which gives your WR1 more favorable matchups.

4. Christian Covington, Defensive Tackle

It was clear in the game that the Dallas Cowboys defensive interior struggled against the Rams interior . Some of it was the matchup, but some of it was related to injuries and an illness to and Maliek Collins. They were overmatched on the night and the Dallas Cowboys defense had a difficult time slowing down the Rams .

The Cowboys have made strides to rectify that by bringing in who played for the Houston Texans in 2018. Playing defensive end in the Texans 3-4, Covington had 3.5 sacks. At more than 300 pounds, he projects to join Woods in the 1-tech defensive tackle rotation.

For a defense that played really well all season and especially against the run, it was a let down. Now with two legit run stoppers, and Covington bringing some pass rush ability to the 1-tech spot, the Cowboys will have more waves of lineman to throw at opposing offenses and will be able to stay fresh.

5. Cameron Fleming, Offensive Tackle

Amidst all the new players coming to town, one of the more underrated moves this offseason was bringing back Cameron Fleming to be the swing tackle for 2019 and potentially be the starting in 2020.

Over the last three seasons, Left Tackle has missed games. In 2017, not having an adequate replacement for the All-Pro pretty much ruined the season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Fleming, who wasn't perfect in 2018, is a reliable back up that can play both sides of the offensive line and with set to be a free agent in 2020, the Cowboys have some veteran insurance if they decide to move on from their starting right tackle.

Having the ability to call upon a reserve offensive lineman who has started a is a really nice luxury to have for the Dallas Cowboys. If they do suffer an injury at tackle, the Cowboys may not have an equal replacement, but they have an adequate replacement to fill in.

6. Jason Witten, Tight End

Admittedly, I've had reservations about bringing back. Particularly as it relates to the snap counts of and Dalton Schultz. Witten is no doubt at the end of his career in the NFL and there's no telling how the year-long lay off will impact his play in 2019, but having one of the most important leaders this franchise has had in the 21st century can't be a bad thing.

The reports are that Witten will only play around 20-30 snaps a game and while that potentially cuts into the development of Jarwin and Schultz, Witten is still a player that can impact the game for you. Especially on third downs and in the red zone.

More importantly, he's veteran insurance if the draft doesn't fall how the Cowboys like to select a or in the event that Jarwin or Schultz don't take a step forward in 2019. Having a future Hall of Famer and one of the best tight ends to ever play the position as insurance is an amazing luxury for a team that will contend for the again in 2019.

7. George Iloka, Safety

The Dallas Cowboys safety group needed an infusion of new blood at the position and so far, it comes in the form of veteran . Now, he doesn't move the needle near as much as Landon Collins or would have, but he's a solid player to put in the safety rotation with Jeff Heath and has some flexibility to back up at free safety as well.

The thing about the Iloka move is that it doesn't prevent the Dallas Cowboys from drafting a safety in the second or with the hopes they will be a starter in the NFL .

8. Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver/Returner

I know this didn't get met with as much fanfare as some of the other moves, but I really like the resigning of Wide Receiver Tavon Austin. Especially, if they make Tavon Austin the full-time kick and punt returner.

He showed way too much flash in the Seattle game returning five punts for 75 yards, including one that nearly went for a touchdown. Why the staff seemed reluctant to let Austin field all of the punts in 2018 is beyond me. They didn't really play him much otherwise.

He's a dynamic weapon with the ball in his hands, so it would stand to reason that you want to give him opportunities to have the ball in his hands. As the full-time returner, he'd get 3-5 touches in the punt return game.

The only reason I have him so low on my list is fear that the Cowboys may not give him a full shot at being a full-time returner. If there was a known commitment to that, then I'd easily bump him up a few spots, because he has that kind of game-changing ability.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

There's a lot of time left for the Dallas Cowboys roster to take shape and six picks to make in the 2019 NFL Draft that will have an impact on how the final 53-man roster looks come September, but the work they've done so far this offseason has been pretty good.

This team still has some holes, but every team in the NFL does. The Dallas Cowboys continue to minimize weaknesses through free agency while not breaking the bank to do so. As we sit here in early April, there's no doubt that the Dallas Cowboys are a better team now than they were in January.

John Williams
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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Ahad, Holy Dabir of Aleppo

Bump Iloka up to third place, and I agree. Having Iloka there means Heath can go back to the roll he’s best suited for, plus gives us the flexibility to draft another S. Witten will have a greater impact than most think as well, I believe. Not necessarily on the field, but in mentoring our young TE’s


I agree that the Cowboys have had one of their better off seasons in a while. I think this year some of the type of players that they hope will slip through the initial FA signing frenzy actually did, like Quinn, Cobb & Iloka. Now my fervent hope is that an overlooked S (as there are overlooked players every year) falls to us at 58. If that happens, then every other player can be BPA for development and depth, regardless of position.

Not your goat

I actually like the Austin signing, it’s basically a retry from last year and like you said, the Seattle game looked like he is finally going to live up to some of his expectations. I do understand why we don’t trust him as a full time returner though and that’s understandable when the guy averages around a 10% fumble rate for his career. I’d love to see him full time KR but only PR when we have the opposition pinned back on their side of the field. I don’t think Iloka makes the 53, Hyder and Covington could really make it possible to cut TC (whom I love) but that move could free up the $ for D-Law and not have to back-load his contract. I also believe Witten has a good year and I do not see him taking a single snap from Schultz because he’s not making this team. I just don’t see him making an impact since he was only a blocking TE in college but athletic we thought we could turn him into a pass catcher, mission failed! Not only can he not catch but his blocking at the next level was so bad he made Rico look like ZM. No joke, go watch the tape. I couldn’t take my eyes off him when he was playing because of how blatantly bad he was. Train Wreck. The 1 move the Cowboys HAVE to make in the draft, even if we have to reach early is a change of pace burner back for Zeke. They usually go in the 3rd and 4th rounds but it’s 1 of the few types that can make an immediate impact and those games the Cowboys seem to struggle running the ball it would give us a weapon that would allow us to keep our philosophy and gameplan since we all know JG isn’t belichick when it comes to making adjustments. All in all a good list but IMO it’s missing 1 really big move and my #1, canning that closed minded, I’m not listening to you, he’s not my friend, Scott Linehan. And when the year is over I have a feeling K Moore will be considered the best move we made. There’s less hype behind it because the only guys who know how good he is are either on the Cowboys or unemployable in the NFL but he’s that next gen type moneyball genius OC everyone is trying to find. Not sexy yet, but it will be.

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