Thin secondary makes safety a priority for Dallas Cowboys
By CLARENCE E. HILL JR.email@example.comR
137301/VERNON BRYANT/Staff Photographer
The Cowboys might target former Texas Tech safety Darcel McBath in the draft. Related Tags (BETA)
The fourth in a series of NFL Draft previews on the Dallas Cowboys.
It will be a revamped Cowboys safety position in 2009 after five-time Pro Bowler Roy Williams, who was once the face of the franchise, was unceremoniously shown the door last month. Gerald Sensabaugh was signed from Jacksonville to replace him and start opposite Ken Hamlin. The move allows the Cowboys to not have to force the issue on draft day. But look for them to still target a safety early.
Who they have: FS Ken Hamlin, SS Gerald Sensabaugh, SS Pat Watkins, Tra Battle, Courtney Brown, Jerome Carter.
Production: Hamlin’s production tailed off last year after making the Pro Bowl in 2007. Still, the Cowboys know what they have in him and are comfortable with his abilities. Sensabaugh, 25, is young and versatile. He can play both safety positions and is in the prime of his career. Sensabaugh had his best season in 2008 with 70 tackles, eight passes defensed and four interceptions for a bad Jacksonville secondary. Watkins is coming off a neck injury and is no longer considered a starting option. The Cowboys liked the little bit of what they saw from Battle at the end of the last season. But his best bet to contribute will be on special teams. And they could still re-sign veteran Keith Davis for special teams purposes and leadership.
Need: They satisfied their need for a safety with the signing of Sensabaugh. But it remains a position of huge interest. Sensabaugh only signed a one-year, make-good deal. And of the rest of the safeties outside of Hamlin, the Cowboys have no one they feel good about for the long haul — even for depth purposes.
Draft prospects: They’re set up to take the best available player on draft day. But if all things are equal, look for them to select a safety with the first pick in the second round. The Cowboys are certainly doing their diligence on guys who might be available. Mike Hamlin (Clemson), Louis Delmas (Western Michigan) and Darcel McBath (Texas Tech) are three prospects visiting the team’s Valley Ranch headquarters this week for pre-draft final looks.