A couple of weeks ago, after the draft was over, Mike McCarthy shook things up by saying the Cowboys were considering moving one of their corners to safety. Speculation immediately feel on Chidobe Awuzie given his versatility and playing the position some in college, and subsequent reporting confirmed the idea. Lost among that somewhat was the idea that the Cowboys were toying around with the idea of moving Jaylon Smith in the defense. Smith has spent the last few years as the starting middle linebacker while Leighton Vander Esch has been the WILL.
There has been speculation that those two will swap and that the Cowboys want to use Jaylon Smith more as a pass rusher than they have in the past.
The Cowboys have considered a possible move for Smith, according to the people with knowledge of the discussions.
It would involve him bumping from middle linebacker to an outside spot with Leighton Vander Esch a candidate to replace him inside. In the Cowboys’ scheme, Smith would blitz more if not playing middle linebacker. He generated 12 quarterback pressures, including 21/2 sacks, on 75 pass rushes in 2019. Three pressures came on a season-high 12 pass-rush attempts in Week 5 against the Packers.
In a recent interview with Bobby Belt, Smith doesn’t come right out and confirm that idea, but he does hint at a more versatile role.
“Really just some added tools for myself, man,” Smith said. “Being able to showcase my versatility, you know being able to run sideline-to-sideline, being able to rush the passer. I’m just looking forward to being able to showcase all of my talents. These guys are putting everyone in the right position, so all I can be is thankful.”
Smith does bring up the idea of rushing the passer, so it’s likely that the Cowboys have already discussed that idea with him. Also, his comment that “these guys are putting everyone in the right position” is promising. One thing that has repeatedly been brought up by this new coaching staff is the idea that the scheme will be adjusted to fit the player’s talents, instead of trying to force them into pre-set ideas.