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Film Room: Analyzing Leighton Vander Esch’s ability to read an offense

The Cowboys linebacker showed lots of promise in his rookie season, let’s hope for more impressive plays like this in 2019.

As draft season rolls on, it is interesting to look back at the Cowboys 2018 class. In the first round they drafted Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch who had a fantastic rookie season.

Vander Esch was excellent against both the run and the pass. He shows that he can block and he’s good with coverage. He also holds the Cowboys rookie record for tackles in a season.

This episode of Film Room shows his first of 2 interceptions in the 2018 season.

In this divisional matchup against the Eagles, it appears that he was just in the right place at the right time, but that is not the case. He reads Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz throughout the play. Wentz initially looks to the defenses right, so that is the direction Vander Esch opens to. When Wentz looks back to the right, he does not see that Vander Esch turns and flows that direction. Vander Esch gets under the incutting route and comes up with the interception. This is an excellent job by Vander Esch, reading the quarterback and making a big play.

Looking ahead to the 2019 season, it will be great to watch him continue to develop alongside fellow linebacker Jaylon Smith in Dallas.