In today’s NFL, a team has to be able to do two things—pass the ball well and stop the other team from passing the ball well. Dak Prescott proved last season that the Cowboys passing game would do just fine with him slinging the ball around. While the defense was not stellar rushing the passer or in the secondary, they could have been a lot worse.
Improving both were a goal the Cowboys had for free agency and with the draft. But the goal for the secondary switched from improving to rebuilding after a few free agency defections. Between the draft and free agency, the team appears to have gathered a good crop of young talent.
Losing Barry Church, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, and J.J. Wilcox all at once stings, but then again, Dallas had the No. 26 passing defense last season. To be fair, it would have helped if the team had a better pass rush but defensive backs are supposed to keep the offense from catching balls—and no team allowed more (425).
— Steve 9 (@BIGHORSELEGS) April 29, 2017
So—is losing them really that much of a loss? Fans will not know for sure until they get to see the new secondary in action. But there is hope with the mixture of veteran talent and incoming rookies. Free agent addition Nolan Carroll (54 career starts) should compete for time. Former sixth round pick Anthony Brown played well when he got in the game during his rookie season last year.
But all eyes will be on the rookies–cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie (second round), Jourdan Lewis (third round), and Marquez White (sixth round) as well as safety Xavier Woods (sixth round). Secondary coach Joe Baker refers to them as a bunch of “alphas.”
“They’re going to come in do what they do,” he added (via SportsDay), “and they’ll find a way to contribute.”
With the quarterbacks the Cowboys are going to face next season, fans will be hoping the “alphas” can live up to the moniker. Otherwise, it might be one and done in the playoffs once again for Dallas.