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Would Drafting DE/OLB K’Lavon Chaisson Leave Cowboys Too Short Elsewhere?

Talk of the Dallas Cowboys loving LSU pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson as a 1st-round pick is heating up as the 2020 NFL Draft draws near. But is this really their greatest need, and would taking Chaisson or another edge player on Thursday night potentially leave Dallas too weak at another position?

This isn’t a knock on Chaisson, who seems like a great pickup for any team with a need for a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. But while the Cowboys do need some help there, it’s arguably not even one of their top three issues heading into the draft.

When I ranked Dallas’ draft needs a week ago, defensive end was fourth on the list. The top three were cornerback, wide receiver, and safety.

It’s a simple matter of what the Cowboys have now and going forward based on contracts. The CB position is a clear problem there with Byron Jones already gone and both Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis becoming free agents next year.

And what’s more, neither of those young player have shown enough yet to be relied on as a true top corner for this season.

The WR position may have Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup locked up for a while, but the #3 spot is open and that is really a starting job in the modern NFL. Randall Cobb played way more snaps last year than the second TE, backup RB, or fullback. It’s a key offensive role.

Safety Xavier Woods is set to be a free agent next year and newly-signed Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has just a one-year contract. The Cowboys could be looking for two new starters next offseason without some investment now.

Sure, defensive end has its own problems for 2020 and beyond. But the Cowboys already have some interesting solutions in place.

Randy Gregory & Aldon Smith: Two-Pronged Approach to Replacing Robert Quinn
Cowboys pass rushers Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith

There’s no question that the Cowboys will miss Robert Quinn after his great contributions in 2019. But there’s considerable upside in the combined potentials of Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith as replacements.

With DeMarcus Lawrence still around as the franchise player on one side, Gregory and Smith are both looking at opportunities to reenter the NFL and resurrect their careers. While there’s no definite answer yet on their reinstatements, all signs point to both getting another chance.

The Cowboys already have decent DE depth with Tyrone Crawford, Dorance Armstong, and Joe Jackson. But as long as just one of Gregory or Smith can find his groove again, then that guy should be able to replicate the impact Quinn had on the defense last year.

Sure, there’s risk in that statement. But the odds are highly improved with both of these players making their comeback attempts on the same roster.

Despite all this, it would hardly be crazy for the Cowboys to invest in a guy like K’Lavon Chaisson. They’d have 4-5 years of his rookie contract to enjoy after and he might have more upside at this point than either Aldon or Randy.

But loading up at defensive end may leave you too weak elsewhere. And K’Lavon’s presence just might stunt the maximum potential that Dallas could get from their other DE options.

Unless the Cowboys clearly think Chaisson is on a grander tier of talent to other CB, WR, or S prospects that might be available at the 17th pick, I think that draft capital could be better used elsewhere.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by 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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  1. What you left out is depth of the draft at certain positions. WR is very deep this year and can get one later. You sound as Dallas has only one pick in the draft. CB and Safety can still be drafted. They could also draft a Center. I’m sure Dallas will move down somewhere in the draft to pick up more picks.

  2. Huh? Edge is one of Dallas’ top 3 needs. . . .how does drafting 1 of the top needs leave them “short”?

    And the 3 current roster players you list are really nothing but depth. . . .If Dallas wants to win and to do so they must upgrade the D, then the fastest way to do that is with pass rush.

    • Wrong…. DE is not a need…. He is right…. Safety, corner and slot receiver are more of a need than DE!! Did you not read how many edge rushers we have already!? And that’s not even all of them!! And right now we don’t have a CB1 at all and we don’t have a strong safety and we don’t have a slot receiver either and by the end of the season we won’t have any safeties or corners at all!! DE is far from a top need for us and it would be stupid to waste a top draft pick on one!!

  3. I think Chiasson is a risky pick. His upside is huge but his overall production at LSU wasn’t very impressive until the end of his senior season. If CJ Henderson or one of the 3 top WR’s are at 17 then stand pat and make the selection. If not we need to hopefully trade back and select best CB or safety available and get 1 or 2 more picks.

  4. I’ll take a tier 1 pass rusher over a safety. With a pass rush, our corners are fine. Pay em all next year when they prove it. WR is deep, Round 2-4 would work… better yet draft a tier 1 RB in second and let Pollard man the slot. I think he’s earned it

    • That don’t make any sense!! If we don’t have any good safeties or corners our pass rushers won’t have time to get to the QB!! We need safeties and corners to cover the receivers or it would be pointless to have a pass rush…. Cause the QB will be throwing on us before the edge rushers even get free to get to the QB!!

  5. No problem. And needs filled.
    1. Chiasson DE, LSU
    2. Grant Delpit S, LSU
    3. Raekwon Davis DT, Ala
    4. Troy Pride Jr CB, ND
    5. James Proche WR, SMU
    6. Darryl Williams C, Miss St
    7. Reggie Robinson II CB, Tulsa

  6. Yes, drafting a DE would leave us short at other positions if not it would leave us with nothing but bad depth at positions we actually need!! We need a safety a corner and a slot receiver way more than an edge rusher!! And anybody who thinks other wise just don’t know football!!

  7. Trade down for the center. Get an extra pick for a cb, then a ss. This may net you three day one starters. De is a need, but we must improve the secondary with all of the talented WR’s coming out in the draft this year.

  8. We need OL help. Are we all blind to the fact Dak is terrible with any kinda pressure??? Really, solidifying up front helps everything, time of possession keeps our suspect D off the field. Gotta get a C, looney was ok but for bigger fish, we need better C play, to run the ball to setup everything else!! We MUST address C, DB, WR3 early. Who is always a crapshoot but positions of need clearly defined.

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