The Cowboys easiest free agent loss to fill in the 2024 NFL draft

The Cowboys sustained free agent losses across their roster this offseason. Their top running back signed with Tennessee, their starting center went to the Commanders, their starting left tackle signed with the Jets, two of their top edge rushers followed Dan Quinn to Washington and the biggest run-stopping defensive tackle signed on with Seattle.

A case can be made for any one of these positions to be targeted early in the 2024 NFL draft but with more needs than premium picks, tough decisions will need to be made. Luckily for the Cowboys, some positions are easier to fill than others. Draft depth and positional value can give Dallas options later in the draft.

But which position is easiest to fill?

Working backwards it appears LT is the hardest to fill . Tackle is considered a premium position for a reason; not only does he protect the QBs blindside and serve to prevent disaster, but he often works on an island facing off against some of the NFLs best edge rushers.

It’s traditionally one of the most heavily drafted and highest-paid positions and usually requires premium draft picks in order to fill it. If the Cowboys want to find a starting LT in the draft, it’s likely first round or bust.

The second hardest spot to fill is at DE. Much like LT, DE is considered a premium position. Elite pass rushers don’t grow on trees and teams have no qualms about using a top pick on a cornerstone edge player. The Cowboys lost both Dante Fowler and Dorance Armstrong here and don’t have a very inspiring group of young bucks waiting in the wings.

If the Cowboys can keep Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence healthy all season, they can survive their free agent losses at DE, but make no mistake, DE is a legit need in Dallas and filling it isn’t something any old Day 3 pick can satisfy.

Dallas also lost Johnathan Hankins and Neville Gallimore at DT. These two aren’t players to lose sleep over but the Cowboys are desperately thin behind them on the roster (figuratively and literally). There are options in the draft that run into the middle rounds but only a handful of good plug-and-play options exist. The Cowboys don’t sound concerned about DT, but they probably should be.

Center is a position which should be looked at with optimism. Not only do the Cowboys have a couple of potential options on the roster already but the draft appears to rich in options that run well into the later rounds. Replacing Tyler Biadasz shouldn’t be difficult.

The last big position in which the Cowboys suffered a free agent loss is RB. Tony Pollard, Dallas’ leading rusher in 2022 and 2023, signed with the Titans as a free agent. The depth behind him is shallow and the Cowboys unquestionably have a major need at the RB position heading into the draft.

Despite that need, RB is a position which has proven to be relatively easy to fill. Looking at to the top performers in the NFL today, most good RBs are found after Day 2 in the draft. This will give the Cowboys plenty of time to find a replacement to Pollard, who was a Day 3 pick himself once upon a time.

An offer for Cowboys fans

For the best local Austin news, sports, entertainment and culture coverage, subscribe to the Austin American-Statesman.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire