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  • The biggest need, the hidden need and what else the Cowboys should be looking for in the 2019 draft.
By Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling
April 09, 2019

Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling are breaking down draft needs for all 32 teams. You can also see every team in a single post here.

Biggest Need: Tight End 
Jason Witten is back, but he turns 37 in May and is playing on a one-year deal. The Cowboys, being a run-first offense, would be very dangerous with more guys to throw to out of running formations. That starts with a potent receiving tight end. Presumably, new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will, like many young offensive architects, be creative and diverse with his formationing. An athletic, flexible tight end is mandatory for maximizing those possibilities.

Hidden Need: Defensive Back 
It’s unimaginable that Byron Jones would not be signed to a lucrative long-term contract when his rookie deal expires at the end of this season. (The question is whether it comes right away or after Jones plays a year on the franchise tag.) Retaining the defensive backfield’s other 2020 free agents—slot corner Anthony Brown and safeties Jeff Heath, George Iloka and Kavon Frazier—could prove more difficult. Technically, Jones can fill any of their positions (he’s played them all), giving Dallas the option to draft a perimeter corner. But that’s a distant fallback option at best, given that Jones’s value derives mainly from the aptitude he’s shown since moving to right outside corner.

Also Looking For: Defensive End 
Even after Demarcus Lawrence signed his long-term deal, you can never have too many defensive ends in Dallas’s scheme, which is predicated on stunts and twists from a four-man front. And Dallas still has questions about the oft-suspended Randy Gregory and the newly acquired Robert Quinn, whose style is better suited to attack deep dropback passing games, not the quick-strike games that are common today.

Who They Can Get
The tight end class is raw but deep, and even sitting at 58 for their first selection, the Cowboys will have some intriguing choices. Dawson Knox was an afterthought at Ole Miss but there's no doubting the raw talent, while Texas A&M's Jace Sternberger isn't an elite athlete, but was highly productive and would bring plenty of dimension to the Cowboys' passing game. If they go defensive back, it seems like safety would be the spot, where Maryland's Darnell Savage, undersized but athletic, lengthy ballhawk Juan Thornhill of Virginia and the heady and instinctive Amani Hooker of Iowa could all make it to the late second round. Edge players at that spot include Miami's Joe Jackson, Old Dominion's Oshane Ximines, Michigan's Chase Winovich and Alabama's Christian Miller. Considering their willingness to roll the dice in the past, draft season faller Jachai Polite of Florida can't be ruled out here.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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