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Amani Hooker
AP
Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Cowboys

by Josh Norris

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Notable Pre-Draft Additions: DE Robert Quinn, WR Randall Cobb, DT Christian Covington, TE Jason Witten, FS George Iloka, DT Kerry Hyder.

Starting Offense

QB: Dak Prescott
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
FB: Jamize Olawale
WR1: Amari Cooper
WR2: Michael Gallup
SLWR: Randall Cobb
TE: Jason Witten
LT: Tyron Smith
LG: Connor Williams
C: Travis Frederick
RG: Zack Martin
RT: La’el Collins

Starting Defense

RE: Robert Quinn
LE: DeMarcus Lawrence
NT: Antwaun Woods
3T: Maliek Collins
MLB: Leighton Vander Esch
WLB: Sean Lee
SLB: Jaylon Smith
LCB: Chidobe Awuzie
RCB: Byron Jones
SCB: Anthony Brown
FS: Xavier Woods
SS: Jeff Heath

Team Needs

Silva's Analysis

Safety: The Cowboys were unwilling to meet Earl Thomas’ free-agent asking price one year after whiffing on Tyrann Mathieu. Woods is better suited for a third safety/reserve slot corner/special teams role, and Heath isn’t exactly a difference maker across from him.

Defensive Line: Quinn and Christian Covington’s additions diminished Dallas’ D-Line need somewhat, but its positional value and the Cowboys’ lack of multi-year building blocks up front keep it squarely in the crosshairs. Lawrence remains without a long-term deal, Collins, Quinn and Covington are in contract years, and Tyrone Crawford’s role is uncertain. Taco Charlton has been a disappointment.

Tight End: Witten returned for a limited-snap, leadership role after flopping on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys have a bunch of “just a guys” at tight end, limiting their big-play potential in the middle of the field.

 

Cowboys 2019 Draft Picks

Norris' Options

2 (58). iDL Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois - Safety and interior defensive line certainly appear to be the top two targets for the Cowboys, and they might be flipped with a prospect like Juan Thornhill in round two and Kingsley Keke in round three. Saunders might be from a smaller program, but he posted plenty of great film and showed very well during Senior Bowl week.

3 (90). S Amani Hooker, Iowa - It seems like the Cowboys like Xavier Woods as their deeper safety and are in need of someone who succeeds closer to the formation. That is Hooker, who made most of his plays undercutting intermediate routes and flying forward. Taylor Rapp would be ideal, but I doubt he’ll be on the board.

4 (128). TE Alizé Mack, Notre Dame - Tight end is the slowest developing position in the NFL, but if Mack puts it together, he can make a real mark in the NFL. Early on, his impact can be felt in the red zone as he produced a number of difficult, off frame catches others cannot.

4 (136). EDGE Shareef Miller, Penn State - It is very difficult to find an impact edge rusher outside of the top two rounds. Miller can succeed with a rip to the outside and a motor to chase down the quarterback once he’s moved off his spot, and a crash inside with immediate explosion and power.

5 (165). RB Mike Weber, Ohio State - As Twitter pal Jeff Cavanaugh pointed out, the Cowboys’ RB depth chart is one name. Now, they rarely take Zeke off the field, but adding a competent second back like Weber makes sense.

7 (241). WR Jon’Vea Johnson, Toledo - He visited the Cowboys, as reported by Dane Brugler. Based on other visits (Mecole Hardman, Emanuel Hall), the Cowboys might be on the lookout for a vertical receiver. Johnson might fill that role with a 40-time in the 4.40 range.

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .