The last thing Cowboys fans wanted to be focused on in late January was the offseason. However, as the NFL enters the conference championship round of the playoffs this weekend, the Cowboys will not be participating, after being eliminated two weeks prior in the wild card round. A season that brought so much excitement and promise resulted in yet another playoff failure. With that said, the Cowboys now focus their attention towards the offseason.
This offseason should be filled with a lot of key decisions for the Cowboys, as head coach Mike McCarthy is coaching for his job in 2024, and a decision will have to be made regarding quarterback Dak Prescott and his contract. Prescott currently has one year left on his deal, but will account for roughly $59 million in cap space this upcoming season if he is not offered an extension or has it restructured.
While there are many things on the Cowboys offseason checklist, it’s never too early to look ahead at potential draft prospects. The front office in Dallas has a proven track record of succeeding in the draft, selecting several All-Pro players. With that said, this past draft class looks like a rare miss for the team. They received very little production from anyone in their class, and suffered because of it. When they drafted defensive tackle Mazi Smith in the first round last year, the hope was he would make an immediate impact defending the run. This didn’t end up being the case, as he spent a majority of the season on the sideline. When he did play, the results were not most hoped for.
The Cowboys still have a lot of work to do when it comes to their linebackers and defensive tackles. The Cowboys should avoid drafting a defensive tackle in the first round for the second consecutive season. It is well-known that defensive tackles typically take longer than other positions to get acclimated to the NFL, and with the Cowboys looking to contend in 2024, they will need immediate production from their early selections. With that said, there is a player in this upcoming draft class that would fit a need for the Cowboys defensively, and could immediately step in as a starter for the team. Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. out of Clemson, would be the perfect selection for the team.
Trotter finished the 2023 seasons with 87 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and a touchdown for the Clemson Tigers. His play this season earned him his second straight AP All-American selection, and he was a selected as a finalist for the Butkus Award, an award given to the top linebacker in the country.
Trotter has NFL in his family as he is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles LB Jeremiah Trotter. The elder Trotter had a successful career with the Eagles, earning a first-team All-Pro selection in 2000, a second-team All-Pro selection in 2001, as well as being selected to the Pro Bowl four times throughout his career.
One thing that jumps off the screen when watching the 21-year-old prospect is his energy and toughness. In his time at Clemson, he was seen often overcoming bigger blockers with his motor and burst. Trotter is very athletic and has enough speed and closing burst to allow him to have good sideline-to-sideline range. This is not only useful in defending the outside running game, but it allows him to be terrific dropping into coverage and defending the pass.
Clemson LB Jeremiah Trotter is one of the best off-ball LBs in the class.
Love this rep on the delayed blitz. Fake the drop out, center looks for work, and he attack the void! An instinctive and intelligent prospect. pic.twitter.com/v6EERjpqv5
— Full-Time Dame (@DP_NFL) January 24, 2024
#Cowboys need to come away from this draft with a solid RB & LB. This draft is weak at both RB and LB. Two guys I’m interested in though are RB Trey Benson from FSU and LB Jeremiah Trotter from Clemson. These two would be home run picks. pic.twitter.com/8DmRn7W3TP
— Ernie (@es3_09) January 17, 2024
It makes sense for the Cowboys to draft a linebacker with their first pick in the 2024 draft. It is one of their few weakness on the defense, and LB Leighton Vander Esch’s future is still up in the air in regards to playing football. DeMarvion Overshown is an exciting name for the Cowboys, he had his rookie season taken away from him after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. but the Cowboys still should look to acquire more depth at the position. The Cowboys currently hold the 24th pick in the draft in April. If they decide to stay at that position in the draft, it would be an appropriate place to select a linebacker who can make an immediate impact for the team.