During the offseason, every team in the NFL will do whatever it can to improve their roster. For most, that will mean keeping an open mind to any player that can help make the roster better. It will also mean targeting the team’s problem areas.
For the Dallas Cowboys, the biggest problems were on the defensive side of the ball. The unit was good overall, but if left on the field too long they got in trouble. Changes needed to be made and many were.
— Daniel Fitzgerald (@nflpicksfitz) March 30, 2017
But did they make all the necessary changes? Did they make the right ones?
The focus appeared to be on the defensive line and secondary (as it needed to be). But as the season draws near, there is one question that bears asking: Were the linebackers overlooked? Should the team have made a few additions to the LB corps?
Last year the group had Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, and Justin Durant. Sean Lee played well enough to be an All-Pro selection and a Pro Bowl alternate. Overall, the unit as a whole (starters and subs) did not play poorly.
So—it is not hard to see why the team did not feel the need to draft or sign any linebackers this offseason. But should they have?
Well—Justin Durant is no longer under contract, but it appears that last year’s second round pick, Jaylon Smith, is ready to step in.
Smith would have been an early first round pick if he hadn’t blown out his knee in a bowl game his final season in college. Should he still be the athlete and playmaker that he was in college, then the team was right in leaving well enough alone.
But if he ends up flopping, the Cowboys could be scrambling for a decent replacement linebacker during the season.