The Dallas Cowboys recently traded for defensive tackle Michael Bennett. Meanwhile, they continue to ignore the safety and nose tackle positions. Why?
Over the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys front office has done a remarkable job building their team. Pro Bowlers can be found at nearly every position. Nearly, but not all.
For reasons perhaps only they understand, owner and general manager, Jerry Jones, and executive vice president and director of player personnel, Stephen Jones, have chosen not to spend significant resources on the safety or nose tackle positions in many years.
I’m not the first to notice this discrepancy. Others have mentioned it. But this odd personnel bias of the Cowboys really jumped out at me this week because of the trade for defensive lineman Michael Bennett and their decision not to trade for a safety.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against the Bennett trade. It was a great deal. He’s a great player, a Pro Bowl defender, and they got him for peanuts.
But Bennett is also a defensive end, albeit with position flex to play the three-tech spot. But the Cowboys already have two Pro Bowl defensive ends in DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn. Meanwhile, they have exactly zero Pro Bowl defensive tackles.
So, it just seems like weird priorities, especially since Dallas has been weak against the run this year. The Cowboys front office could have traded for a defensive tackle, a big space-eating run stopper.
Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins was one name bandied about as a trade target, among others. (They also could have signed Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy this offseason as a free agent. But they didn’t make an offer. The Carolina Panthers signed him to a one-year deal for $8.5 million, a reasonable sum for a player of his caliber.)
Instead, the Joneses chose to trade for another pass rusher. That got me to wondering why the Cowboys never seem to spend resources on highly regarded nose tackles (or any run-stoppers really), or safeties.
Don’t believe me? Here are the facts: In the last ten years, there are only three position groups the Cowboys have not used any of their first through third-round picks (other than special teams). Those position groups are quarterback, safety, and nose tackle.
Just for comparison, during this decade, the Cowboys have used their top three draft picks for four cornerbacks, four linebackers, four defensive ends, two three-technique defensive tackles, six offensive linemen, one tight end, two running backs and four wide receivers (including the trade for Amari Cooper).