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Cowboys 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl defensive preview

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There is some top heavy talent in Mobile that could be of interest to the Dallas Cowboys.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike the offensive side of the ball, it’s hard to find many past senior bowlers on the Cowboys roster, but I have a feeling this year that may change.

After some disappointing dropouts over the last few days (Kristian Fulton, Damon Arnette, Khalid Karrem, Jeff Gladney, and Ashtyn Davis), there is still a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball in Alabama, especially along the defensive line.

Like we did with the offense, we will be going through each position group on the defensive side of the ball, and look at some of the players the Cowboys’ scouts should have an eye on this weekend.

Defensive Tackle

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The two big names along the interior of the defensive line in Mobile this week are South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw and Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore. Both players should be in play for the Cowboys at 17, with a possibility that Gallimore could somehow fall to pick 51. Both players are athletic, disruptive, twitched up under tackles with high ceilings as pass rushers in the middle of the defensive line. Both Kinlaw and Gallimore play with excellent athleticism, but Kinlaw’s length, size, and all around game makes him the higher ceiling prospect, that will likely go earlier in the draft due to those traits. Along with those two, Leki Fotu out of Utah is a massive nose tackle that will likely go on day two due to the size, quickness, and overall power he plays with measured at 6’5” 335 lbs. Ohio State’s DaVon Hamilton and North Carolina State’s Lurrell Murchison bring some day three value to the table as well, and should be names to get familiar with throughout the week.

EDGE

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

While the EDGE class in Mobile doesn’t hold the top end talent that the defensive tackle position does, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Utah’s Bradlee Anae, Wisconsin’s Zack Baun, Alabama’s Terrell Lewis, Tennessee’s Darrell Taylor Jr., and Florida’s Jonathan Greenard are all prospects the Cowboys should have an eye on, as they will be needing to add a defensive end at some point in the 2020 draft. Anae is a very intriguing prospect out of Utah due to his refined pass rush ability. Lewis is another high ceiling prospect that with the ability to really get after the quarterback due to his speed and athleticism. Taylor Jr. may have the highest ceiling of the edge rushers in Mobile due to his physical traits, length, and three down ability.

Linebacker

NCAA Football: California at Utah Gabe Mayberry-USA TODAY Sports

The overall linebacker class in the 2020 draft class is underwhelming as it is, so the group of seniors in Mobile are not going to make the billboards. That said, there are some good linebackers in Mobile that should find themselves drafted right around the top 100. Alabama’s Anfernee Jennings, Ohio State’s Malik Harrison, and California’s Evan Weaver are the three guys I’ll have my eye on throughout the week of practices. All three players project as inside linebackers at the next level, with Harrison having some off-the-ball ability. With the resources the Cowboys have invested in Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys spending a top 100 pick on a linebacker, unless Vander Esch’s neck is more of an issue than we’re being led to believe.

Cornerback

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As we mentioned at the top, the cornerback group took some massive blows over the last week. Losing Kristian Fulton and Jeff Gladney really hurt this group as a whole. Still, with the big two dropping out, there’s some guys who can play, and the Cowboys should be interested in, to add to an experienced, yet unproven cornerback group. Notre Dame’s Troy Pride Jr., Wake Forrest’s Essang Bassey, Utah’s Terrell Burgess, Oklahoma State’s A.J. Green, and Nebraska’s Lamar Jackson are all guys who have a big week ahead of them to help their draft stock. Jackson is the most intriguing due to the size and length at the position (6’3” 215 lbs) but needs to show he can keep up with the quickness of some of the more shifty receivers. Burgess is a favorite of mine due to the versatility he brings to a defense, having experience playing all over the defense for Utah.

Safety

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Unfortunately, the top safety in Mobile (Ashtyn Davis) will not be participating in practices or games due to a minor clean up surgery after the season. But even with Davis not playing, there is plenty of talent in Mobile to keep it interesting. Clemson’s K’Von Wallace, Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger, Maryland’s Antoine Brooks Jr., and Southern Illionois’ Jeremy Chinn all have big weeks ahead of them with the spotlight off of Ashtyn Davis. Wallace and Dugger fit the more traditional box safety role, with Brooks and Chinn having some centerfield potential. Dugger has the most to gain this weekend, showing that his DII dominance wasn’t just due to the lack of talent in the SAC conference.