Where Do They Go From Here; Dallas Cowboys

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look America’s team and ask how ‘bout them Cowboys?

How Did Last Season Go?
This one is pretty difficult to answer. Dallas won the division and made the playoffs and even won a game, which is obviously a positive. There were also some standout performances here and there throughout, such as the week 6 battering that they gave Jacksonville or going into Philadelphia and beating their fierce rivals and to add to that, they went 5-1 in the divisional games overall.
However, the start of the season and season until the bye was patchy at best. Until week 8 and the bye, the Cowboys were 3-4 having not lost or won two weeks consecutively.
The other negative of winning the division and making the playoffs Is that there’s now plenty more Jason Garrett to come. Albeit no contract extension has been signed to date, which gives the Dallas faithful and my co-host hope that the incessant clapping will cease in the near future.
After the bye was much better and the Cowboys won the NFC (L)East and got better in the process by trading for Amari Cooper; a move that will take the pressure off Ezekiel Elliott from now on.
The issue with that is that they now have no first round pick and aren’t really that close to being a Superbowl team, as the loss to the Rams showed, so Dem ‘Boys will have to draft well to carry on their improvement.

Housekeeping

Cap space: $10m

Draft picks (6): Round 2, 58th overall, round 3, 90th overall, round 4, 128th & 136th overall, round 5, 165th overall & round 7, 241st overall.

Outgoings
Hmmm… not too much to be honest. The Cowboys cut their long standing relationship with Cole Beasley and we’re subsequently ripped by the now Bills wide receiver on social media.
Fellow wideout Terrance Williams also left town, as did tight end, Geoff Swaim and to wrap up on offense, Rod Smith is no longer backing up Zeke.
Over on defense, David Irving is erm, retired… we think.
So all in all, no biggies.

Incomings
Well, in the most bat-shit crazy move off the off season, Dallas did the most Dallas thing you can imagine and brought back Jason Witten from the announcers booth, on a 1 year, $4.5m deal. Geoff Swaim must have been Really, *really* bad.
Next come some decent deals, signing George Iloka and Kerry Hyder and the recent re-signing of DeMarcus Lawrence and some head scratchers; signed a washed Randall Cobb and re-signing Tavon Austin.
Lastly, Robert Quinn has been brought in via trade from Miami for a 2020, 6th rounder… so essentially nothing. Which is a low risk, high(ish) reward deal that is pretty smart.
So, next up, let’s look to the future.
I mentioned the draft earlier on and that Dallas need to be clever with that they do given they only have two top 100 picks at 58 and 90. So where should they do targeting?
Looking at the depth chart, two obvious areas of need at those two spots could be upgrading the strong safety position, where the current starter is Jeff Heath… yuck. So at 58 I can absolutely get on board with Dallas taking one of my favourite players in the safety class; Darnell Savage from Maryland. Obviously, George Iloka could play in this spot but he’s 29 and only on a 1 year deal, so you have to look to the future here and I feel like Savage could be that future.
That would leave the Cowboys needing to find a long term solution at tight end at 90. Fortunately this year’s class is a deep one at the position, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
I really like Texas A&M’s, Jace Sternberger or Alize Mack of Notre Dame at the end of the 3rd.
Both a good receivers although Sternberger is a superior receiver whereas Mack is a better blocker, so I guess it depends which kind of tight end they’d want. I feel both can develop into very solid starters at the next level although neither will be ground-breaking.

Outlook For Next Year
I feel like it’s a tough call. On one hand Dallas has the positive of playing in a division with no standout team, so wins are there for the taking. Yet on the other hand, finishing on top of the division attracts a tough schedule and then so does being paired up with the NFC North in 2019, a division I consider to be one of the best in football.
As mentioned previously, I also feel it’s harder for Dallas to improve due to lack of high end draft picks and let’s face it, low and coaching talent.
They also have a QB who struggles to throw for over 200 yards frequently, so whilst I feel the Cowboys are a solid outfit, would I throw down any of my hard earned cash on them to make the postseason again? Probably not.
On a more positive note, the Cowboys do have some building blocks in place such as the offensive line, Elliott, Cooper, Lawrence now he’s back, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch and Byron Jones. That’s pretty positive! Left tackle, pass rusher, offensive playmakers and defensive playmakers all with the boxes checked.
I feel like the problem with me getting excited, or not, as the case is, lies with Garrett and that I don’t see Dak as a QB that’ll ever win it all…

Prediction
9-7 for me. Which as usual with Garrett and the Cowboys will leave them on the edge of playoff contention. However in a strong NFC I feel like they’ll need to be hoping that the East beats itself up again and 9-7 is enough to secure another title and a route into wildcard weekend and the 4th seed.
The positive of that could and probably should be that 9-7 probably, again we can never say for sure with Jerry Jones, probably see Jason Garrett kicked to the kerb.

Fantasy Football
Ezekiel Elliott is by far and away the most fantasy relevant player on the Cowboys. Zeke will once again be the centrepiece of the offense and should see heavy usage both on the ground and in in air. If you’re not picking in the top 5 of your draft, when you don’t have to worry about him, he’ll be gone.

Amari Cooper showed last year that he can definitely have success on this offense so he will be WR1 for the Cowboys and wouldn’t be a bad option for you either. His stock amongst fans seems to have dropped a little so you should be able to pick him up a little later than you’d expect for a WR1.

The only other real player of note for Dallas could be Michael Gallup, who you could pick up late on in drafts as you’re filling out your roster.

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