- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Nose tackle Antwaun Woods was the first casualty of the Dallas Cowboys’ record-setting, defensive-oriented 2021 NFL Draft.
With eight of 11 picks on the defensive side of the ball, including the first six picks for the first time in franchise history, the Cowboys released Woods on Wednesday.
Per sources, the decision was made for salary cap reasons and size fit in the new defense under coordinator Dan Quinn.
Woods’ departure clears $2.1 million in much-needed salary cap room for the Cowboys.
But this was also about the team trying to upgrade at nose tackle and fix the run defense following a season in which they gave up the second-most rushing yards in franchise history.
Woods started 32 of the 39 games he played for the Cowboys over the last three seasons.
But he was generously listed at 6-foot-1, 318 pounds and him being undersized at nose tackle always an issue.
The Cowboys have made a point to get bigger and longer upfront.
Consider the measurements of the two tackles they drafted: Osa Odighizuwa (6-2, 380) in the third round and Quinton Bohanna (6-4, 360) in the sixth. They also signed Brent Urban (6-7, 295) and Carlos Watkins in free agency (6-3, 305).
And they have Trysten Hill (6-3, 308), Neville Gallimore (6-2, 302), Justin Hamilton (6-2, 315), and Walter Palmore (6-4, 320) coming back from 2020.
The undersized Woods was no longer a fit, especially at nose tackle. Bohanna, Watkins, Hamilton and Palmore are being targeted to hold down the middle of the defense.
Quinn made a point after the draft to say that Bohanna, an ideal wide body to play the 1-technique , was drafted specifically to play over the center and anchor the team’s run defense.
Woods is the first veteran casualty of the 2021 draft but he likely won’t be the last.
Vice president Stephen Jones has already said the Cowboys are hoping all 11 rookies make the team and push some veterans off the roster because they are younger and more cost effective against the salary cap.
Woods should have an active market for his services as a free agent.
He came into the league as an undrafted free agent and battled his way from fourth string to a starting job on the Cowboys in his first year because of his unrelenting style of play.