Offseason review: Dallas Cowboys

Pre-draft needs



Draft class

Round 1: Tyron Smith, OT

Round 2: Bruce Carter, OLB

Round 3: DeMarco Murray, RB

Round 4: David Arkin, G

Round 5: Josh Thomas, CB

Round 6: Dwayne Harris, WR

Round 7: Shaun Chapas, FB

Round 7: Bill Nagy, C


Potential free agents of note

Doug Free, LT

Kyle Kosier, G

Alex Barron, OT

Sam Hurd, WR

Stephen Bowen, DE

Jason Hatcher, DE

Marcus Spears, DE

Alan Ball, FS

Gerald Sensabaugh, SS


Post-draft needs





For many years, the Cowboys have had one of the least athletic offensive lines in the NFL, but their selection of Tyron Smith might be an indication that they’re trying to upgrade in that area. Smith, at least for this season, will line up on the right side, which probably is an indication that veteran offensive tackle Marc Colombo’s job is in jeopardy. A source confirmed he has a $2.6 million option bonus due on or before the 15th day of the new league year. He also has a $500,000 roster bonus paid out over the course of the regular season if he makes the 53-man roster. He could earn a total of $5 million for the season in bonuses and base salary. The team has indicated that re-signing left tackle Doug Free is a priority.

Despite selecting guard David Arkin in the fourth round, Dallas will need to address the position further if the Cowboys don’t re-sign veteran Kyle Kosier, because they simply have no one else is ready to step in to his place.

With the likelihood that the team will release veteran running back Marion Barber when transactions are able to be made, that would leave an opening for one more running back. That could explain why the team added DeMarco Murray in the third round. Murray projects to be a third-down back at the NFL level. A source confirmed Barber’s $500,000 roster bonus is due on June 3.

The Cowboys, despite having a major need at defensive end, chose to pass on adding players from that position in the draft. It’s imperative that the team re-signs at least one of the free agents from the position since they have no one left who is capable of starting opposite veteran end Igor Olshansky.

Perhaps Dallas’ biggest need is in the secondary at both safety positions. Their opponents over the past few seasons have targeted the safeties in the passing game have found pretty good success against them. Despite that, the team didn’t select a single safety in the draft. It’s possible that the team will give 2010 fourth-round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah a chance at more playing time. However, he didn’t see a single snap on defense last season, while seeing 129 plays on special teams.

And finally, Dallas’ much-maligned cornerback position didn’t get much help in the draft. Josh Thomas was selected in the fifth round, but it would be a surprise if the defensive back contributed much this season. Dallas is going to have to add at least one veteran in free agency for depth and competition sake.