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Stephen Jones: Defensively, the Dallas Cowboys Have to Get Better

It’s no secret that the Dallas will be looking to add defensive players in the NFL Draft which will commence in nine days. The Cowboys were one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2020. They’re a team that is ready to contend on the offensive side of the ball, but need some help from the so they’re not having to score 40 points every week to try and win games.

Speaking to the K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan yesterday, Stephen Jones was asked if they are looking to add help or defensive help. Jones answered, “I think defensively it’s across the board.”

About the defensive line Jones said, “You can’t ever have enough defensive linemen.”

left in . The interior of the Cowboys’ defensive line is unproven, especially at the 3-technique. and have shown flashes but neither have shown they can be consistent enough to be a starter in the NFL. At the 1-technique the Cowboys have solid options in , , and Carlos Watkins, but nobody who is a long-term answer at the position.

Even though has been good when he’s played and he’s now getting a full with the team, he has just one year remaining on his contract.

On the secondary Jones said:

“Certainly we lost Chidobe [Awuzie] in free agency. So, it’s obviously our ongoing annual need for safety, which never seems to end in terms of draft pick resource or dollar resource. We just — it’s been at the low end of the totem pole there.”

At the safety position, Jones later explained that the team has tried to acquire safeties in the past through the draft or through , but have either gone in a different direction in the draft or the trade never materialized. Specifically, he brought up who the Cowboys attempted to trade for during the . Then in the 2019 offseason, the Cowboys attempted to woo Thomas who instead opted for a bigger contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Dallas Cowboys’ has worked to help the safety position this offseason Demontae Kazee and Jayron Kearse, however I don’t think they’re done yet.

There have been whispers that the Cowboys are interested in Oregon Safety Jevon Holland. He may not step in and be a starter on day one, but his athleticism, range, and playmaking ability would get him on the field sooner rather than later.

Jones mentioned the loss of Chidobe Awuzie. While the player isn’t a huge loss, the void created by the departure is pretty big. Awuzie played a ton of snaps for this team in his tenure with the Cowboys.

is still the most glaring need for 2021. As it stands now, the Cowboys would start Jourdan Lewis or on the opposite side of Trevon Diggs if they’re unable to add a top 50 cornerback in the draft. or at 10 or Greg Newsome around 20 in a trade back or trade up make a lot of sense.

On the position:

“But then of course with the game becoming such a game that’s played in space, you can’t have enough of those linebackers who can cover and, as I mentioned, these tight ends are really create challenges, these long, athletic tight ends. And you certainly, if you get opportunities to find guys who can help. Certainly Jaylon [Smith] and Leighton [Vander Esch] are athletic and long. And you can’t ever have enough of those guys either. So, I really don’t know that we have necessarily say, ‘hey, it’s got to be skilled or the front.”

The Cowboys have been linked to the linebacker position at both 10 and 44. Word is they really like Zaven Collins out of . With the decline in play seen from and , the Cowboys could certainly add a linebacker or two in this draft.

If the Cowboys don’t pick up Vander Esch’s fifth year option for 2022, he’ll be a next spring. Though it was widely speculated that the Cowboys might move on from Jaylon Smith this offseason next offseason it become even more palatable to him if his play doesn’t improve.

Ultimately, it comes down to adding good players. The Cowboys need help at every level of the defense. They have more urgent needs at cornerback and defensive , but looking to 2021 and beyond, the Cowboys need to find good defensive players throughout the draft. And at the same time, they can’t ignore the offensive side of the ball just because they NEED defense.

“But I think defensively we have to get better. Certainly that’s one of the goals in this draft is to improve defensively, and, as you said, if the right guy presents himself, not unlike CeeDee [Lamb] did last year, you just got to be in a situation where he’s by far the best player left on the board, then you’ve got to have confidence that you can make that selection.”

There are no guarantees in the NFL Draft and teams have to keep and open mind. However, much like the , the Dallas Cowboys’ goal for this draft is to get better defensively. With 10 picks in this year’s NFL Draft, Stephen Jones, , and will have a great opportunity to improve the defense.

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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