Cowboys haven’t done much to address biggest offseason need

The needs for the Dallas Cowboys have been well known since the offseason began, which included running back, linebacker and offensive line. Another hole on the roster, and possibly the biggest, resides at defensive tackle;  a place where the team hasn’t adequately filled the void.

Here the Cowboys sit in mid-May, with their depth chart looking even worse than it did last year when they were carved up in the playoff loss to Green Bay. While one starter remains in Osa Odighizuwa, another is gone, Johnathan Hankins. The replacement for Hankins is second-year DT Mazi Smith, who the team drafted in the first round last year. The Cowboys know Smith needs to make the leap and are counting on him being better in year two.

However, Smith’s development has been slowed due to shoulder surgery that is expected to keep him out until training camp. With a new defensive coordinator in the building, and with the scheme changes, the Cowboys are off to a rough start opposite Odighizuwa.

Smith isn’t the only option at DT, but he’s the most important.

Dallas re-signed Carl Davis this offseason to help on the inside, can use fourth-year man Chauncey Golston at DT, and drafted Justin Rogers in the seventh-round to pitch in. However, no one in that group inspires confidence to play at a high level. Davis is a former third-round selection that hasn’t lived up to expectations and Golston has struggled to find a consistent role since the team drafted him in the same round in 2021.

It looks bleak for the Cowboys at DT. The team doesn’t appear to have many quality options, something their own website recognizes, where they don’t have a starter listed next to Odighizuwa.

Who starts hardly matters in May, but it highlights the lack of talent available for the team. What’s more disappointing is the Cowboys barely made an effort to get better at the position. They allowed Hankins to leave in free agency, waited until the seventh-round to draft help and only signed one undrafted free agent at DT. Counting on Smith to drastically improve when he had a rocky rookie year, and will miss most of the offseason program is wishful thinking.

Davis and Golston are rotational pieces, no one knows what Rogers can be, and even if the team does move second-year man Viliami Fehoko or Marshawn Kneeland inside for snaps, they are first year players at a position that’s difficult to adjust to. Not having much experience and being short on quality talent is not an ideal place to be for the Cowboys at DT.

Also considering the issues the defense has had stopping the run in the playoffs and in big games over the last three years, it’s surprising they haven’t taken upgrading the interior of the defensive line more seriously. This late in the offseason, there isn’t much help available, but the Cowboys should still be trying to find someone who can be an upgrade at DT.

Not finding better options at DT could be one of the big mistakes from the organization in an offseason full of them. Right now, it’s Odighizuwa and everyone else, not exactly a group that instills fear. The Cowboys look worse at DT in 2024 and there’s little reason for offenses to not to continue to run it right at their defense.

The Cowboys haven’t significantly addressed their shortcomings at DT, and it could come back to bite them this season, again.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire