FRISCO, Texas – With so many questions to answers, this series will take a look at each position on the roster, and what choices might face the front office heading into 2021.
We'll continue at the safety position, a spot that hasn't been truly solidified in decades.
Today, let's wrap up the questions at safety, a position that hasn't seen a first- or second-round pick in nearly 20 years.
Finally Time To Invest In A Safety?
When it comes to needs, just about every position on the defense could use an upgrade.
The linebackers have question marks across the board. The defensive tackle needs players inside and every team could use more pass rush on the edge.
But the secondary is probably the biggest area of concern for the Cowboys, starting at the cornerback spot, which has two veterans headed for free agency.
But not far behind that area of need is the safety spot. Xavier Woods is also a free agent to be and the only player the Cowboys can count on at the position is Donovan Wilson, who has only started 10 games.
Clearly, the Cowboys need some help at safety.
But will they finally invest in the position with a first- or second-round pick, something that hasn't occurred in nearly 20 years?
When the Cowboys picked Roy Williams (eighth overall) in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft, it would be the last time the Cowboys added a safety in either of the first two rounds.
Since then, the Cowboys have mostly tried to find a safety in the later rounds. Even when the drafted J.J. Wilcox in the third round back in 2013, he had only played the position for one season in college after moving from running back. That experiment didn't pan out as the Cowboys would've liked.
You can argue that some of these late-round picks at safety have been successful, mainly because they've turned out to be starters.
Then again, perhaps they're starting because the Cowboys just haven't invested enough in the position at all.
Wilson was a sixth-round pick in 2019. Woods was a sixth-rounder in 2017 and ended up starting for three years.
Kavon Frazier was a sixth-round pick and was one of the team's better special teams players for a two-year period.
But other late-round picks at safety didn't pan out, such as Ahmad Dixon, Matt Johnson, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Michael Hamlin and Justin Beriault. The one exception could be Pat Watkins, a fifth-round pick in 2006 that became a starter and was a steady playmaker at times.
But overall, nothing has really stuck at the safety position in 20 years.
Do we see that changing here in 2021?
Well, the safety position this year doesn't really have a player worthy of drafting at No. 10 overall. Even so, it's doubtful the Cowboys would go that route.
At best, there are a couple of safeties that could sneak into the later parts of the first round.
That means, there's a better chance some of the top safeties would be on the board when the Cowboys draft at No. 44.
TCU's Trevon Moehrig is arguably the best safety in the draft. It's not likely that the best at any position would last that far into the draft.
But others such as Pittsburgh's Paris Ford, UCF's Richie Grant, Andre Cisco of Syracuse and Oregon's Jevon Holland would all be strong possibilities in the second round or maybe the third.
At some point, the Cowboys will reverse their course of history and make a higher investment at safety.
Could this be the one?