Dallas Cowboys Have Work to do at Linebacker this Offseason ✭
In recent years, the linebacker position has moved from being a position of strength to being a serious concern for the Dallas Cowboys. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch couldn’t relate to the magical 2018 season that left many wondering if they were the best linebacker duo in the NFL. Some injuries to Vander Esch and a drop in play for Smith and now many are wondering if the Cowboys need a massive position overhaul.
As sensible as it makes, the Dallas Cowboys are unlikely to deviate from Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch this off-season, even though it might make sense.
Heading into the off-season, Smith and Vander Esch are the only linebackers on your squad with any kind of gaming experience. Sean Lee, Joe Thomas and Justin March are all on their way to the free agency, leaving Luke Gifford, Francis Bernard and Azur Kamara as backups for Smith and Vander Esch.
Even with the potential in Gifford and Bernard, the potential is unknown and they are not players to rely on in a meaningful football game.
As much as I dislike the mapping of 10th overall win to linebacker position, it makes a lot of sense based on the direction the position is headed. Even if they have plans to pick a Micah Parsons, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramorah, Nick Bolton or Zaven Collins in the first round, the cowboys front office must also address the position in the free agency. Whether it’s re-signing Joe Thomas or playing with a seasoned player like Lavonte David, the Cowboys need some experience and they need players who can take some off the load on Smith and Vander Esch in order to be the best players.
Vander Esch has been seriously injured in the last two seasons. It might be wise to manage your workload in the future to minimize the chance of further injury. Does that sound familiar to you?
Smith had his moments on the field and was able to stay on the field after returning from his ACL injury. However, at times he has become a commitment that falls victim to misdirection and plays action as he struggles in coverage.
Beyond the two starters, the cowboys need depth. There is no telling whether Sean Lee will want to continue playing or whether Joe Thomas will still have a place on this roster. Justin March has made a solid contribution to specialty teams. If the cowboys don’t bring any of these three back, they’ll have to get to work this off-season and fill out their depth map. If the plan is to rely on Gifford or Bernard as the next linebacker from the bank, they’ll need to get veteran insurance in case they’re not up to the task.