The Dallas Cowboys concluded the year on a disappointing note, succumbing to a 48-32 defeat against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wild Card Round. This came after The Cowboys went 12-5 and won the NFC East. Now that the season is over though it is time to look at how to improve their roster. One of the first steps in reworking the roster is attending the East-West Shrine game.
The Cowboys will likely focus most of their attention on the line of scrimmage as three of the team’s top five needs are either on the offensive line or defensive line according to Bleacher Report. Dallas scouts will hope they have similar success finding talent on this year’s roster as they did last year when three of the team’s eight draft picks came from this game.
Five Players the Dallas Cowboys should target at the East-West Shrine game
1. Leonard Taylor III, DT, Miami (FL): One of the most pressing needs for Dallas this offseason is defensive tackle. The team has two of its top players at this position Jonathan Hankins and Neville Gallimore scheduled to be free agents. 2023 first-round pick Mazi Smith has also not lived up to expectations.
Last year, the team used their second-round pick on East-West Shrine Bowl participant Luke Schoonmaker and the team could do the same this year if they use the 56th overall pick on Miami defensive tackle Leonard Taylor III. Taylor is an impressive athlete who had a 19% pass rush win rate in 2022 according to Pro Football Focus.
2. Logan Lee, DT, Iowa: If the team loses both Jonathan Hankins and Neville Gallimore this offseason, adding more depth will be a must at defensive tackle. Dallas also may be looking for more of a run-stuffing defensive tackle after giving up 4.2 yards per carry this season.
Iowa's Logan Lee is one of the more underrated players at the East-West Shrine game. He is a fiercely competitive defensive tackle who is stout vs. the run picking up 55 tackles and helped Iowa only give up 3.1 yards per carry which ranked ninth in the nation. The Cowboys will likely be able to get Lee with one of their two seventh-round picks.
"“I just remember as a kid being the most competitive in every area of life, almost a little excessive. Whether that be in a board game, whether that be in a card game, whether that be playing soccer or playing football, I was just always trying to compete in every aspect.”"- Logan Lee via Daily Iowan
3. Curtis Jacobs, OLB, Penn State: Another position on the Cowboy's defense that needs to be addressed is linebacker. The team battled injuries at this position with Leighton Vander Esch missing most of the season with a neck injury and DeMarvion Overshown tearing his ACL before the season. Dallas also got inconsistent play from Damone Clark and Markquese Bell which is another reason why the Cowboys should look at addressing this position during the 2024 NFL Draft.
Curtis Jacobs is one of the faster linebackers in the 2024 NFL Draft and should be a three-down defender in the NFL. His best asset is his ability to hold up in coverage showing the smooth hips and overall football IQ to play either man or zone coverage. As a run defender, he plays sideline to sideline and does a good job of getting off blocks.
4. Garret Greenfield, OG, South Dakota State: Starting left tackle Tyron Smith will be a free agent this offseason, and has also battled his share of injuries. If the team moves on from him they could move 2022 first-round pick Tyler Smith to tackle, which would create a gap at offensive guard.
A player who could fill that void is South Dakota State’s Garret Greenfield. While Greenfield played offensive tackle for the Jackrabbits, his best pro position might be offensive guard. No matter where he plays in the NFL, the team that gets him is getting an intense physical run blocker.
5. Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville: Dallas running back Tony Pollard averaged a career-low 4 yards per carry this season, and will also be a free agent. After lacking the explosion he had in the past it would not be a shock if the Cowboys let him walk. The team’s backup running back Rico Dowdle is also scheduled to be a free agent, and if he leaves there is no other running back on the roster with more than 50 rushing yards on the season and that was Deuce Vaughn who averaged 1.7 yards per carry.
While Texas running back Jonathon Brooks will be at this event, he will not be able to take part in any drills due to a season-ending injury. This could allow someone like Louisville’s Isaac Guerendo to catch the team's attention. Guerendo who is coming off an impressive Holiday Bowl rushing for 161 yards and three touchdowns against USC. He also has the blazing speed the team lacks running the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds.