The Dallas Cowboys have been surprisingly quiet when it comes to upgrading their defensive front this offseason. They lost Randy Gregory to the Denver Broncos, which is a blow to their pass rush. In his place, they brought in Dante Fowler Jr. and are hoping that DeMarcus Lawrence can get back on track.
The defensive line was also left essentially the same this offseason. Dallas selected John Ridgeway out of Arkansas in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but other than that, the group will be similar to the one they used in 2021.
Neville Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa, Carlos Watkins, Trysten Hill and Quinton Bohanna currently make up the depth chart at defensive tackle along with Ridgeway. Given how much the Cowboys struggled to slow down the run last season, it is a bit surprising that they have decided to run it back in the fashion that they are.
Dallas could be counting on players to develop and step up their performance in 2022. But, if the coaching staff and front office realize that the defensive tackle position is still an issue, they can turn to a surprisingly deep group of veterans available in free agency.
One of those players that they could look into bringing in is Akiem Hicks. Hicks was one of the better free agents this year and remains available to be signed. Surprisingly, he is still without a team given how well he has played in recent seasons.
Hicks is the kind of space-eating, run stuffer that the Cowboys could use in the middle of their defense. He has consistently graded out as one of the best run defenders in the NFL. However, he offers much more than that, as he is also a very good pass rusher from the interior of the defensive line.
That kind of production is difficult to find, so it is surprising that he is still available at all. Injuries could play a part, as Hicks played only five games in 2019 and nine this past season. However, he has proven to be a force when on the field. It shouldn’t be much longer until he finds a new team, so Dallas needs to strike soon otherwise risk missing out on making a potentially impactful addition to their defense.