While free agency officially begins on March 13, roster turnover isn't too far away. The Cowboys will indeed add and presumably release players, along with letting some go without a new contract.
However, the majority of the 2018 roster is already in place. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they've been and where they're going.
Today, we'll continue the series with linebacker Chris Covington.
What's Been Good: For a sixth-round pick, especially on an already-young team, just making the 53-man roster is an achievement. That might sound hollow to some, but considering that Covington joined a group that featured Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, plus fourth-year veteran Damien Wilson, he obviously did enough in the limited playing time he had to warrant the Cowboys keeping him around. He's a big, strong linebacker with good tackling ability and can run well for his size.
What's Been Bad: On the flip side, you always want your guys to play as much as possible. So while he'll enter his second season with the Cowboys, he's only got five games of of experience in the regular season. Most of that occurred on special teams. This is the time of year when the Cowboys must make tough decisions – regarding free agents that come and go and of course, the draft. Did those five games give Covington enough of a sample size to keep the Cowboys from adding more young linebackers?
What's Next: Let's see what the Cowboys do in free agency – or more importantly – what they don't do. Damien Wilson and Justin March-Lilliard are both unrestricted free agents. It's unlikely they will try to keep both linebackers but even if both end up going to another teams, that should let us know how the Cowboys feel about Covington's potential and upside. Either way, he needs to become of an every-down player and try to compete for a starting spot at strong side linebacker.
For a sixth-round pick, especially on an already-young team, just making the 53-man roster is an achievement.
Bryan's Bottom Line: In a lot of ways, the 2018 season was a good one for Chris Covington and I don't mean from a playing standpoint. Sure it would have been nice for Covington to get the experience of playing every week but he wasn't ready from a physical or mental perspective. It's rare that you have players like Leighton Vander Esch that come into the league and develop as quickly has he. It's a big transition for these players especially for a player like Covington who converted from one position to another. Spending time practicing and lifting should give Covington a better chance to compete for a starting spot like the SAM linebacker where the club will likely not resign Damien Wilson. Covington has the physical make up to that job a run.