LB is imperative for Cowboys to improve, but pointless without a DT

Auto insurance is an important investment for most people. If something bad happens, it protects in case of property damage or even injury. It’s not only smart business to insure a car, it’s also the law. But without a car, auto insurance is suddenly pretty pointless. It doesn’t necessarily matter which order the two items are purchased, just that the insurance holder is in possession of an automobile.

Cars and car insurance go together much in the same way defensive tackle and linebacker do. One without the other is at best foolish and at worst a recipe for disaster. A DT holding off blockers and maintaining his gap doesn’t do much good if LBs aren’t behind him making the stops. Just like the best LB in the world can’t do much if he doesn’t have a DT upfront occupying those 300-pound lead blockers.

The Cowboys are primed to add some new blood to the linebacker position in the 2024 NFL draft. They have devoted a significant amount of time studying and meeting with LB prospects up and down the draft.

With Leighton Vander Esch gone and Eric Kendricks operating on a one-year deal, the Dallas LB corps are anything but stable. Damone Clark hasn’t been a consistent performer. Marquese Bell is expected to move back to safety. and DeMarvion Overshown is largely living by his preseason reputation from 2023. It’s a position that needs to be addressed but it’s also a position that needs support from the big guys up front.

With Johnathan Hankins gone, the onus largely falls on Mazi Smith to carry the burden in the middle. Smith, a first-round pick from last draft, is the favorite to win the starting 1-tech job. The chief responsibility of the 1-tech is ensuring the health and safety of the LBs behind him.

If Smith isn’t up to the task, the Cowboys and their LBs could be in trouble. Dallas severely lacks depth at 1-tech and it won’t matter which LBs the Cowboys draft, if they can’t protect him, it’s like having a car without the insurance.

Sadly the 2024 draft isn’t very rich in 1-tech talent, so a simple solution isn’t readily available. There’s a good chance the best 1-tech prospect in the draft will fall into a range the Cowboys can afford but he comes with risk. A couple free agent options are still on the market as well. If Dallas doesn’t find a rookie, they’ll likely explore those free agent options once the draft is completed.

From the top LB prospects to the Day 3 guys, Dallas has done their due diligence and now looks to address their LB concerns both in the short-term and long-term. But without a stout presence at DT, those LB may not be worth a hill of beans.

Like a car without insurance or insurance without a car, LB needs decent DT play in order to succeed. It doesn’t matter which order of priority the Cowboys have on these positions, just than both positions are adequately addressed.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire