Robert Blanton is leaving the cold city of Buffalo for a chance to play football at Jerry’s World in Dallas. Considering how bad the Cowboys secondary was last season, it’s a move that should add depth, but little else.
Blanton’s only notable moment last season was his pre-game scuffle with New England Patriots rookies Jacoby Brissett and Malcolm Mitchell. Outside of that incident, he was a reticent member of an underachieving Bills defense. He started in two games last season and played in 10. After going down with a foot injury in Week 11, his year ended with a quiet 18 tackles.
The Cowboys are in desperate need of help in the defensive backfield with the departures of Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox and Morris Claiborne. Blanton can provide some decent depth at this point in his career and he also offers options on special teams, but he hasn’t proven himself to be a consistent, quality NFL starter in five seasons.
Perhaps the Cowboys are hoping he can turn back the clock to his 2014 season, when he exploded for 105 tackles and one interception for the Minnesota Vikings. That effort was almost better than his last two seasons combined.
The more likely scenario is the Cowboys bringing him in for depth behind Byron Jones and Jeff Heath, alongside Kavon Frazier.
After finishing first against the run and 26th against the pass on defense last season, the team expected to give extra attention to the secondary in the draft next week. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn’t rule out the possibility of trading up in the draft to select one of the projected elite players.
“Near the bottom of the first, moving toward the top … this sets up for a little potential trade action to try to gain some value or try to hit an opportunity,” Jones said, according to the Star-Telegram. “I have never looked at where we were when we started a draft and thought we are not going to get a very good player right there. The assumption being that is where you are going to be when you have to make a decision. All that plays out as it unfolds. There are some opportunities (for trades up or down).”
The Cowboys had a better secondary last season than they do right now. That’s not good news heading into a new league year. More moves are definitely coming.
Blanton may be part of the solution, but he definitely isn’t the answer.