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Cowboys news: Defensive improvements are coming, and coming fast

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Atlanta Falcons v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Taking Another Look At 3rd-Round Pick Nahshon Wright - Jordan Schultz, Inside the Star

Could Wright be the team’s new Mr. Right?

Nahshon Wright was graded as a 7th round pick by several prominent draft experts, including Dane Brugler and Lance Zierlein. So, what do the Cowboys know that the rest of the world doesn’t?

Wright has great size and is the prototypical Dan Quinn defensive back at 6’4” with a nearly 33-inch wingspan. He doesn’t have the quickest hips but he’s not a slouch athlete by any means. Wright ran a 4.47 40 yard dash and is light on his feet when he’s on the field.

There is no denying that Nahshon Wright is going to be a developmental project for Dan Quinn, but luckily they can afford to bring him along slowly as they have four other CBs on the roster ahead of him.

Dallas Cowboys Rookie Micah Parsons Is ‘The Saquon Barkley Of Linebackers’ - Mike Fisher, Sports Illustrated

If Parsons is as good as Barkley, the Cowboys made the right pick.

Zierlein labeled Parsons as one of his favorite draft selections, crediting the Cowboys with having done “a great job finessing the first round, moving down two spots and acquiring a third-round pick (Chauncey Golston, No. 84) while still landing the premier alpha defender in this draft.’’

We still think there was as much “itchy trigger-finger’’ stuff going on in the Dallas war room that night, but “finessing the first round’’? That’s a nicer description.

And Zierlein’s description of Parsons’ talents? That’s also nice.

The linebacker from Penn State - which is also Barkley’s school previous to him becoming a star with the New York Giants - “has outrageous speed from sideline to sideline,’’ Zierlein says. “He’s a terrific open-field tackler and a plus pass rusher who helps to diversify the Cowboys’ linebacking corps. ... He should be the Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite.”

Cowboys’ lack of defensive leadership creates challenges upon 2021 draft class’s arrival - Michael Gehlken, DMN

The Cowboys might have a leadership void.

The question painted Sean Lee into a corner.

He couldn’t avoid answering it. Not with everyone watching.

On April 27, two days before the draft, the newly retired Cowboys linebacker was asked during a news conference whether the team possesses the sort of player leadership that he, Tyrone Crawford and Jason Witten exemplified during their tenures. To avoid any awkward omissions, Lee became obligated to single out specific Cowboys defenders and label them as leaders.

It was like asking, “So, what’s good here?” to a waiter at a one-star restaurant whose kitchen is on fire, just as his manager walks past.

Spagnola: Watch Out With The Gang Coming Back - Mickey Spagnola, DallasCowboys.com

A healthy Cowboys squad would be a world of difference from last year.

Spotted on the rehab/conditioning field on Thursday at The Star was the quarterback, Dak Prescott, continuing to do his thing without a hitch in his giddy-up following his season-ending ankle surgery.

A tad later, here comes the starting tight end, Blake Jarwin, continuing his rehab, running strong, following his season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL.

And now for the very best part, most encouraging, following head coach Mike McCarthy’s recent rave review.

Alongside the quarterback, alternating drills on the resistance cord being held by Cowboys associate trainer Britt Brown, head rehab guy, looking trim and running as well as the quarterback was the starting right offensive tackle, La’el Collins, showing no residual signs from his season-ending hip surgery.

Giants-Cowboys: Early Matchup to Watch in 2021 Season Meetings - Nick Falato, Sports Illustrated

Circle this one on the calendar.

However, his starting left tackles in the last two seasons have either led or finished second in the league in pressures allowed. Yes, Jones can help that with a bit quicker processing, but many pressures are immediate.

Furthermore, the quarterback has yet to be surrounded with NFL average talent. Saquon Barkley was seriously injured in week two of 2020 and played most of 2019 with a high ankle sprain.

Sterling Shepard dealt with concussion and foot injuries in the two seasons since Jones arrived at 1 MetLife Drive. Evan Engram was misused in Jason Garrett’s offense and proved to be more of a hindrance to the offense’s success rather than a dangerous weapon, which he could sparingly become.

Darius Slayton proved that he’s not a true number one wide receiver, but I certainly feel he can be a competent number two. Gettleman, head coach Joe Judge, and the Giants organization witnessed the lack of weapons last year.

Cowboys Could Receive Boost From NFL Schedule in 2021 - Adam Taylor McKillop, FanDuel.com

The schedule can make all the difference.

Last season, the Cowboys offense finished in the top-half of the league with 371.8 yards per game. All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott gained 65.3 rushing yards per game while wide receiver Amari Cooper led the team with more than 1,000 receiving yards.

Dallas also hired Dan Quinn as its new defensive coordinator and made six defensive draft picks to improve on that side of the ball.

As it stands, FanDuel Sportsbook is giving the Cowboys +1300 odds to win the conference. Dallas fans are hopeful an easier schedule helps propel this team back into the playoffs.

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