Cowboys have secondary needs but maybe not holes

With the NFL draft quickly approaching, here is a position-by-position look at the Dallas Cowboys' roster and their potential needs:


On the roster: Chidobe Awuzie (signed through 2020), Anthony Brown (signed through 2019), Kavon Frazier (signed through 2019), Jeff Heath (signed through 2019), Byron Jones (signed through 2019), Jourdan Lewis (signed through 2020), Xavier Woods (signed through 2020), Jameill Showers (signed through 2019), Marquez White (signed through 2019), Duke Thomas (signed through 2018), Jason Thompson (signed through 2018), Marqueston Huff (signed through 2018).

Analysis: The Cowboys had serious turnover in the secondary in 2017, moving on from Barry Church, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox all at once. Some of it had to do with price. Some of it had to do with the team's desire to start fresh.

The Cowboys found out by the end of the season they had players worth developing in Awuzie, Lewis and Woods. Awuzie and Lewis started at outside corner with Woods seeing time in the slot. The results weren’t always pretty, but they did enough for the Cowboys to feel good about each of them moving forward.

Jones will move back to cornerback in 2018 after playing safety the past two seasons. Given new passing game coordinator Kris Richard’s background with bigger corners, Jones could work back on the outside. His athleticism makes him a good matchup against tight ends as well. Woods could be in the mix for a starting safety role as he enters his second season.

Heath made one of the biggest plays of the season, forcing a Derek Carr fumble as the Oakland Raiders quarterback was about to score a touchdown in Week 15. Heath also was the first player to intercept Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Is he perfect? No, but he makes more plays than he misses.

After a productive rookie season in 2016, Brown took a step back in 2017. He needs to find his rookie form but gives the Cowboys a versatile corner with 32 games of experience under his belt.

Draft need: There is always need to take secondary players, but the Cowboys have covered themselves fairly well at the position in terms of talent and contractual status.

Having picked up Jones' fifth-year option, the Cowboys do not have a regular contributor with an expiring contract after the season.

The NFL draft is not just about the current year but the future as well. At No. 19, the Cowboys could see one of the top corners available fall to them, which could be too much value to pass up. The mid to late rounds have sub-package players available.

Of note: The Cowboys have selected at least one defensive back in every draft since 2006.

Possible picks: Louisiana Laffayette's Tracy Walker; West Virginia's Kyzir White; Virginia Tech's Terrell Edmunds; Southern Miss' Tarvarius Moore; Texas' DeShon Elliott.

Prediction: The biggest acquisition in the secondary that could come in the draft is a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for Earl Thomas. Multiple hoops would have to be jumped through for a deal to be consummated -- like signing Thomas to an extension -- but if the Cowboys pull that off, they won’t take a player in the secondary with their draft picks. They put their collateral on the table with how they approached last year’s draft in selecting Awuzie, Lewis, Woods and White.

The series:


Running back

Wide receiver

Tight end

Offensive line

Defensive line