Could Cowboys trade for safety? Stephen Jones: We’re ‘getting a few calls’
The Cowboys acknowledged safety was their shallowest roster position entering the 2019 draft.
Then the team passed on the top safeties available in Round 2, waiting until the sixth round to select Texas A&M’s Donovan Wilson 213th overall.
Teams took notice.
“We’ve been getting a few calls,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told reporters Wednesday at an annual golf outing for team sponsors. “People needing things and knowing that we might need, thinking that we might need a safety, would we be willing to trade this player for that player.
“I think this is going to pay for us. We’re not in any hurry.”
The Cowboys’ patient approach stems in part from belief that their scheme can work without a top-tier safety. Bolster the defensive line, front-office members say, and the rush will make coverage easier for defensive backs. The Cowboys went to work on their front four this offseason with an extension for Pro Bowler DeMarcus Lawrence, a trade for Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn and the second-round selection of Central Florida defensive tackle Trysten Hill, Dallas' highest pick after the team's midseason deal to acquire Amari Cooper for a first-rounder.
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In contrast, the safety depth chart features undrafted free agent Jeff Heath; sixth-round selections Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier; and George Iloka, whom Dallas signed in free agency for one year, $1 million.
The Cowboys hired former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard in 2018.
Jones said an upgrade for Richard’s unit may be difficult to find.
“Not just anybody fits with what we are trying as an organization to get accomplished at that position,” he said. “It has to be a safety that works for us.”
In the interim, the Cowboys drafted two running backs, two defensive ends and third-round guard Connor McGovern. The Cowboys hadn’t lost an offensive-line starter – in fact, they expect all-pro center Travis Frederick to return after an autoimmune disorder sidelined him in 2018 – but said they’d continue fortifying their strengths. Consider the offensive line a roster asset rather than imbalance, Jones said.
“We have [received calls about] different positions, which I think says a lot,” Jones said. “I love Jerry’s famous line, you keep strong at a position by drafting into a position of strength. That’s what we did with McGovern. I think we’ve got some depth there in the offensive line, not to mention many other positions.
“So I think that’ll pay off for us.”
Follow Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.
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