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13) How Will The Safety Position Shake Out?


(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into 2021. Today, we'll ask the writers to analyze the safety position.)

FRISCO, Texas – This isn't a new topic at all. The Cowboys have entered many of training camps in the past with an unsettling feeling at safety.

And this year is no exception. The Cowboys added some veteran safeties in free agency, but they have their question marks as well.

Let's see how the writers feel about where the safety position is and where it's headed.

13) How Will The Safety Position Shake Out?

Jonny Auping: It wouldn't be a Dallas Cowboys' offseason if we weren't talking about how safety was going to play out. Unlike most years, the Cowboys did actually use free agency this offseason to go out and sign an exciting playmaker at safety. He just so happens to be coming off a torn Achilles. That said, I'm choosing to be optimistic about Damontae Kazee's health. He was available and practicing in minicamp, and that's definitely a positive sign. If healthy, I love his game. He thrived under Dan Quinn in Atlanta, and he looked like he was on his way to being a star after his 2018 season. I imagine he'll be starting at free safety. As far as the strong safety position goes, Donovan Wilson still has a lot of proving left to do, but I think he got started proving himself last year. He showed that he can make plays and belongs in the NFL. Wilson and Kazee won't come into training camp as one of the league's top safety pairings, but I think they have the highest upside as starters.

Nick Eatman: History suggests that however the position "shakes out" this year, it'll still leave the Cowboys and their fans, wanting a big upgrade in the offseason. Stephen Jones is even poking fun at the notion that they haven't done much to this spot, calling it "the poor safety position" and how it just hasn't been addressed that much, although there have been attempts. I think the Cowboys use Damontae Kazee, who looks like he's made a nice recovery from an Achilles injury, and I would imagine Donovan Wilson retains his starting spot. But Jayron Kearse will play a role in the equation and my gut tells me they'll add a veteran before the season off the waiver wire – someone that gives them more experience but also contributes on special teams. If they go that route, he'll have to be better than Darian Thompson and I would think the Cowboys could find that, especially since teams will still need to trim off some salary and that could lead to some intriguing names being available in late August and early September.

Kyle Youmans: At the moment, the perceived starting safeties are Donovan Wilson and Damontae Kazee. Each of which, played the majority of their 2020 snaps at the free safety position. However, it's pretty easy to see how those two shake out. Kazee is a natural at the free with around 80% of his snaps coming at the spot prior to his Week 4 injury. While Wilson, mostly played in the free safety spot towards the end of the season mostly due to necessity. If I had to guess, Wilson will make the return to a majority box safety role while Kazee is over the top as the starting tandem. As for the depth at the position, I think it's in better hands this season than in recent years. Both Darian Thompson and Javion Kearse bring a veteran backup presence that could help the younger additions like Tyler Coyle and sixth round pick Israel Mukuamu, who is making to switch to safety for the first time. Last year, there were four safeties on the 53-man roster after cuts, so don't expect each of these six names to make the cut. But there is competition, and that's something the safety spot has not seen in quite some time.

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