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How free agent signings will impact Dallas Cowboys at NFL Draft

Now that the Cowboys have solved some depth issues through free agency, how have the pickups impacted how they will select in the NFL Draft?
Credit: Alan Crowhurst
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: Allen Hurns #88 of Jacksonville Jaguars scores the winning touchdown during the NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Wembley Stadium on October 25, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys have been quite active during the secondary wave of free agency. The team has added two wide receivers in Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns to bolster the receiving corps. On top of those two acquisitions, the Cowboys solidified their depth at offensive line with Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And that's not to overlook the re-signings of Joe Looney and L.P. Ladouceur and the franchising of DeMarcus Lawrence.

These are the flashiest signings you'll likely see from Dallas this offseason but what they have done is removed pressure for the NFL Draft next month. Thompson played last season with the Buffalo Bills, he will mainly be used as depth with the departure of Brice Butler. The Hurns signing puts some pressure on Terrance Williams to perform. Last season, Williams recorded a career high with 53 receptions but a career low 10.2 yards per reception average and he failed to reach the end zone.

Hurns hasn’t been the same player he was in 2015 when he had a 1,000 yard season and ten touchdowns, but with Williams and Dez Bryant on the field the offense should really open up for all three players in 2018. The player that could suffer most might just be Cole Beasley.

While Beasley was productive with four touchdowns (five is his career high), his yards and average were his worst performances since his rookie season. Beasley is also in his final year of his contract. The Cowboys could conceivably walk away from the man they call Sauce with a suddenly crowded receiving group and save $3.25 million this year.

With the acquisitions of Thompson and Hurns, does that rule out the need for a wide receiver in the upcoming draft? The short answer is no. The Cowboys are just not being “boxed into a certain position” as Bryan Broaddus likes to say. They can focus more on who is the best player. Beasley is likely gone after this season and there are still questions about Dez Bryant’s future with the team. If the team feels that there is a long-term answer in the draft, one could expect them to pull the trigger.

Shifting to the boys who set the tone for the offense, the linemen have been a hot topic of discussion this offseason. The team lost their starting left guard Jonathan Cooper to San Francisco and in turn signed Martin from the 49ers. That seems to be more of a depth concern much like bringing back Looney and and bringing in Fleming from the New England Patriots.

The rumor mill has been surrounding moving La’el Collins back to left guard. However, while Fleming started in the Super Bowl at offensive tackle his best role most likely involves him as the swing tackle.

Collins moving to guard could pick up steam if Dallas doesn’t address left guard early on. Isaiah Wynn of Georgia or Will Hernandez of Texas-El Paso would quickly put those whispers to rest if the Cowboys can acquire one of those two talents with their first-round selection. It isn’t a probable situation that either player is available around pick 50 (their second-round pick).

Conceivably the team could go an entirely different route at 19 with a player on the defensive side of the ball, primarily defensive end. Despite Lawrence’s return to Dallas for the 2018 season, the Cowboys still need another rusher to join Tank and David Irving. The Cowboys could get Randy Gregory back following his season long suspension, but he has only played two games in two years. Harold Landry of Boston College could be in play at 19.

Landry is a speed guy but he has the length that this team covets at the pass rusher position. Despite the fact that the Cowboys have added Taco Charlton, Charles Tapper and Gregory over the last four drafts, the defensive end is still a top need for this team should the right player fall to them. Landry would give Dallas the opportunity to have a dominant weakside rusher, which has been missing in Dallas since Ware. The dark horse at selection 50 could be DE Lorenzo Carter from Georgia provided another position is addressed at 19.

The most likely scenario seems to be that the Cowboys are gearing up to take an offensive lineman, specifically a guard to take the spot vacated by Cooper. Whether it is Wynn or Hernandez, the Cowboys are once again poised to make their offensive line a force to be reckoned with. Especially considering their bitter rivals continue to beef up their defensive front.

Best player available or position of need? Chat with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys for more thoughts on how the Cowboys should tackle the draft.

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