Analyzing Areas for Improvement as the Dallas Cowboys Miss Out on NFL Trade Deadline

With the Dallas Cowboys opting not to engage in any activity ahead of the NFL trade deadline, what specific position groups need improvement?

The Dallas Cowboys did not acquire or participate in any trades before the NFL’s 2023 trade deadline.

There are multiple position groups the team could have bulked up from a trade, so let’s assess what those rooms will have to do to find more success as the season advances.

What Position Groups Need Improvement?

Offense

Offensive Line

The Cowboys’ offensive line has the potential to be strong, but the injury bug keeps striking and keeping the line from forming much-needed continuity.

With the team already having its bye week behind them, injury continues to be a concern, especially at the left tackle position with Tyron Smith’s injuries.

MORE: Best Offensive Lines in the NFL 2023

Chuma Edoga has played at left tackle three times this season when Smith has been inactive. However, he provided positional flexibility with his ability to play guard as well, as he showed when Tyler Smith wasn’t available earlier in the season.

Asim Richards, the team’s fifth-round draft selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, can play at the tackle position as well, but he is a player who is in the development process being young.

This group will need to find a way to find continuity if any of the starters aren’t available at any point.

Tight End

The tight end room is one of the youngest on the team, and the lack of a more established veteran in the room shows at times.

However, the playcalling could be why the tight ends are less involved. The West Coast system Mike McCarthy adopted with his playcalling this season makes tight ends greater blocking threats than threats in the passing game. 

But, this is something that coaches and players alike have expressed a need to change going forward.

Jake Ferguson has only had 33 targets and 25 receptions for 237 yards this season. Getting Ferguson more involved in the passing game can only open the offense up more for Dak Prescott. 

With Peyton Hendershot on injured reserve, Sean McKeon and Luke Schoonmaker are on the active roster. But with Eric Saubert on the practice squad, he could add more depth, depending on the opponent.

Defense

Cornerback

The cornerback room was promising at the beginning of the season after the Cowboys traded with the Indianapolis Colts for veteran Stephon Gilmore, giving up a 2023 fifth-round draft pick.

Gilmore’s addition to the defensive backfield was celebrated and welcomed. However, Trevon Diggs’ season-ending ACL injury threw a wrench in the plans for the Cowboys.

Jourdan Lewis is back in full force after returning from a Lisfranc injury at a much-needed time, primarily because of his versatility to play slot or boundary. “Mr. Pick Six” Daron Bland has continued to impress and break records for the Cowboys in his second season as well. 

Nahshon Wright, Noah Igbinoghene, and Eric Scott Jr. all can use polishing up but can all contribute on special teams as well, especially with C.J. Goodwin being on injured reserve with a pectoral tear.

Linebacker

The Cowboys’ linebacker room needs more depth overall, especially with Leighton Vander Esch on injured reserve with a neck injury.

Vander Esch’s history of neck injuries is concerning regarding how much time the veteran will miss this season. With him being the key communicator in the group, the young depth will need to continue communicating at a high and adequate level.

Damone Clark currently leads the team in tackles and is still experiencing a lot of firsts this season since he was rehabbing back to the game from a herniated disk last year.

MORE: What Cowboys’ Markquese Bell Credits for His Year 2 Jump in Hybrid Role

Although Markquese Bell has continued to impress in his transition from safety to linebacker, he admits there is still much to learn in this new position inside the box. If the young players like Clark and Bell can continue to play aggressively and execute, the linebacker room shouldn’t be of high concern.

It is worth mentioning that more depth will be available for this room next year with DeMarvion Overshown’s return. Overshown had one of the most impressive training camps and preseason showings ahead of his season-ending ACL tear that put him on injured reserve.

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