The second-year defensive tackle has a big role to fill in the upcoming season.
Gallimore’s performance at the tail end of 2020 puts an obvious spotlight on him in 2021. Inexperienced as he might be, Gallimore is the closest thing to a proven holdover among the Cowboys’ defensive tackles. That’s not even an exaggeration. Fellow draft pick and veteran Trysten Hill is recovering from an ACL injury that limited him to just five games last year. Veterans Carlos Watkins and Brent Urbans have played plenty of NFL games, but not with the Cowboys. The influx of young talent – Osa Odighizua, Chauncey Golston and Quinton Bohanna – are all rookies.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was asked this spring about how all of those different players fit together, and he noted the importance of differing roles within the roster, likening it to the varying skillsets of basketball players.
“I think we’re all following the NBA right now, but for the catch and shoot player who can nail a three in today’s NBA, that’s a really big deal and they’re excellent at it,” Quinn said. “Well, there are some players on defense that have some specific roles.”
Dak Prescott expects a big year for his talented wideout in 2021.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of Prescott’s short-lived 2020 campaign was wide receiver CeeDee Lamb whose 74 receptions shattered the Cowboys record for rookie pass-catchers, and he was on pace for over 1,200 yards when Prescott was healthy. Prescott sees Lamb taking the next step in 2021.
“My expectations are super-high,” Prescott said, via 105.3 The Fan. “I’m so excited for CeeDee. … He’s a special playmaker that we’re privileged to have and he’ll be big-time and definitely have a breakout season.”
Although Lamb played with three other quarterbacks after Prescott went down, and failed to reach 90 yards in each of the last 11 games, his rookie season was a successful one. He finished with 935 yards and five touchdowns, but he reached a few milestones in the process. Lamb became the first receiver in NFL history to record at least five receptions in his first six career games. Also, he’s the first player in Cowboys history with two 100-yard performances in his first five games.
Reality Check: Dallas Cowboys Aren't Trading for or Signing a Veteran Cornerback - John Williams, Inside The Star
One side believes the Cowboys won’t go for a veteran cornerback.
Gilmore isn’t happening because the Cowboys would have to do two things; send a draft pick to the Patriots, and then they’d have to pay Gilmore, who is in the last year of his deal and seeking a long-term contract. We know that the Dallas Cowboys covet draft picks and are reluctant to pay players who have aged like Sherman. The Cowboys’ defense will likely improve in 2021 with the addition of Dan Quinn and the defensive talent they added in free agency and the draft. However, cornerback remains an area where the team should be concerned, but they won’t do anything about it.
Anthony Brown has taken on a leadership role in the Cowboys’ secondary room this year, but we’ve seen a roller coaster of play from him over the last five years. He doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright may be good to great NFL players, but there will be some growing pains in their rookie campaigns that the team will have to live with.
As much sense as it might make for the Cowboys to bring in Sherman or trade for Gilmore, given the need at cornerback, knowing their history and what they value, it’s easy to see that it’s a pipedream.
One player the Dallas Cowboys should trade for this offseason - Joey Pollizze, FanSided’s The Landry Hat
The other side of that coin hopes the Cowboys will go for a veteran cornerback.
If the Dallas Cowboys want to acquire a solid cornerback through trade, there are two players that they could look at. They are New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore or Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard. Both players are currently holding out of their team’s mandatory minicamp due to contract issues. Howard’s contract situation is a bit more interesting than Gilmore’s. Howard still has four years left on his deal while Gilmore only has one.
As a result, the Dallas Cowboys should make an offer for Stephon Gilmore. The 30-year-old cornerback from South Carolina has recently expressed his frustration with the team for not giving him a contract extension. This could be good news for Dallas.
If New England decides not to give Gilmore an extension, the former South Carolina star will likely want out. He is in the last year of his $65 million deal that he signed in 2017. With Dallas’ limited cap space in the coming years, this could a solid situation for the Cowboys. They would be able to get one of the best cornerbacks in the league for one season. This deal would presumably make this secondary a whole lot better.
Two players not named Dak Prescott the Dallas Cowboys can’t afford to lose to injury in 2021 - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
If the Cowboys lose either of these players for an extended period of time in 2021, things won’t be pretty.
As a pass-rusher, Lawrence’s hand technique and footwork are among the best in the league, and he pairs it with length, strength and notable quickness, making life hell on opposing offensive tackles. If Dallas isn’t showing blitz, offenses will often slide the protection toward Lawrence as well, which makes his margins for success smaller than if he had a true one-on-one. Even though Dallas, historically, has made it easy for opposing offenses by aligning DeMarcus Lawrence predominantly at one spot (left defensive end), opposing pass protections must account for him on every snap.
Against the run, Lawrence is a five-tool player who is capable of making a play regardless of which type of run concept is called, making it difficult for offensive coordinators to scheme him out of a game. If the run is to the opposite side, Lawrence has the athleticism and hustle to chase it down from behind. If it’s run at him, Lawrence is outstanding at defeating blocks and making stops. He can stack and shed blocks at the point of attack using length, strength and technique, and he can penetrate and create havoc in the backfield. Pullers? No problem.
Lawrence is the type of defender who not only makes an impact with his play but also with the attention he demands from opposing offenses. His mere presence makes everyone else’s job easier on defense, as he frequently gets double-teamed and creates production for his teammates. Even when he doesn’t make the play, he’s often the root of it.
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