With DeMarcus Ware gone, and Jason Hatcher likely signing elsewhere, the Cowboys defensive line is in shambles and very reminiscent of the early 2000’s. In reality the Cowboys took years to fill the void of Charles Haley and Tony Tolbert. As fans we were able to ride with Ware from 2005, but before Ware arrived the defensive line was full of busts, bad free agent signings, and just very average. You could argue it took the Cowboys close to 10 years to find the next franchise pass rusher and that’s for real.
So, while this day was coming, the Cowboys now enter an era we have not experienced in almost a decade. Hopefully Jerry Jones has learned from all the bad drafting after Haley left. We had countless busts there, with Shante Carver, Kavika Pittman and Ebenezer Ekuban. And when the draft picks didn’t work out, Jerry pulled the trigger on horrible free agents like Marcellus Wiley. This is the state the defensive line is in right now, and you can’t sugar coat it. That’s it, we are rebuilding this defensive line, there are no doubts about it.
Will McClay was tasked with being the guy to bridge what the scouts are studying and what the coaches need. On top of this duty, McClay will be heavily involved in grabbing the Cowboys some mid-tier guys that can come in here and give us some depth on defensive line.
Stephen Jones alluded to the Cowboys needing to be efficient this free agency and that is absolutely true. They cannot overpay or grab a washup guy. Stay away from older guys on the wrong side of 30. The Cowboys have some room to add a few younger guys that could be gems or players that will give us some quality depth as we really focus on rebuilding via the draft.
A few defensive ends that could fit the bill would be: Robert Ayers, Willie Young, or Corey Wooten
Defensive tackle players with some youth: Pat Sims, Henry Melton, Ziggy Hood
On the defensive tackles, I wouldn’t mind grabbing one of the 1-tech guys like Sims or Hood to give some rotational help with Hayden. If we sign Melton, that would likely close the door on drafting a player like Aaron Donald.
This is where McClay’s expertise resides, with the pro player personnel, so which ever player we add on the defensive line they will have been vetted out by McClay and probably coach Marinelli as well.
As for the draft McClay will need to hit a homerun if we go defensive end in the first round. At 16, the Cowboys would almost likely trade down and pick up a player like Scott Crichton or Dee Ford, but we’ll see.