DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys appear to have had a steady draft as their impression as a top-10 team across the league held forth.
According to Dan Hanzus from NFL.com, the Cowboys come in at No. 6 in the latest post draft power rankings.
"The strength of Dallas' defense is a fierce pass rush led by Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence and Dorance Armstrong," Hanzus wrote. "Head coach Mike McCarthy believes that strength will intensify after the team used its first-round pick on Michigan run-stuffer Mazi Smith. It marked the first time Dallas has used a first-round selection on defensive tackle since the pick of Russell Maryland in 1991 (that one worked out pretty well)."
One curious aspect of the Cowboys' approach to the 2023 offseason has been their upgrades on defense. The offense stalled out against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoff loss, 19-12. The answer to improving Dak Prescott's fortunes is to apparently drag the opposing offense down so far that they can't score more than 12 points either.
Dallas had problems down the stretch with their run defense in the middle when defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins missed five of the last six games of the regular season. Problems were seemingly inherent with the interior defensive line as Dallas had to trade with the Las Vegas Raiders in the first place for Hankins' services.
Smith should help to solve the Cowboys' run defense problems going forward. The former Wolverine generated 48 combined tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a half-sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery through his final 14 games in college.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters on April 27 that the team was missing a player with Smith's "base" along the interior defensive line.
"This defense, the way we’ve got it structured, adding a key player with that much lead, that much base, that much strength, that much disruption as opposed to the number of sacks he gets," Jones said. "That kind of thinking, you wouldn’t have seen that from us 10 years ago. This isn’t something we thought of tonight; it’s something that’s been in the making for a couple of years."
The NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles managed to maintain their dominance over the rest of the NFC East in the ranking. The reigning division champions placed No. 2 on the list. The New York Giants were No. 14, falling five spots below their co-tenants at MetLife Stadium, the New York Jets. Washington had the steepest drop with a No. 30 placement in the power rankings.
Do you think the Cowboys have done enough this offseason to climb the rankings? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.