Since 2015, the Dallas Cowboys have not had a defender record more than three interceptions in a season. During that span (six NFL seasons), Dallas has lacked a true “ball-hawk” on their defense.
They may have finally found one this offseason in 28-year-old safety Damontae Kazee.
After tearing his Achilles in just the fifth game of the 2020 season, Kazee saw his value drop in free agency drastically. In late March, the former Atlanta Falcon was brought in on a one-year, $1.1 million prove-it deal. Kazee will be reunited with his former head coach, Dan Quinn, who saw the safety do some great things in Atlanta.
In 2018, the now 28-year-old was one of the best safeties in all of football. Kazee was a true disrupter on the Falcons defense, posting 82 tackles, 10 PBUs and hauling in a league-leading seven interceptions. Kazee became the 10th Atlanta Falcon ever to record at least seven interceptions in a season.
Kazee’s 2018 PFF defensive grade of 77.9 was by far the best of his career, as was his outstanding 82.9 coverage grade.
After a Matt Ryan fumble, Drew Brees comes back with an interception to Damontae Kazeepic.twitter.com/oMyoXwNfVz— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) November 23, 2018
Kazee was not quite as dominant in 2019, but he still has a solid season recording 74 tackles and intercepting three passes. The 10 interceptions Kazee recorded in 2018 and 2019 were just one fewer (11 to 10) than the amount the entire Cowboys secondary had during that period.
That statement alone should show you how much Kazee could mean to this defense.
New Cowboys S Damontae Kazee tied for NFL lead with 10 INTs during 2018 and 2019 seasons. Just one pick fewer than entire Cowboys secondary combined in that period. DC Dan Quinn and secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. get their guy. pic.twitter.com/JyqXBcnp8R— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 26, 2021
Coming off a torn Achilles is never easy and he might face some bumps along the road, but even if he can be the 2019 version of himself it would be huge for this defense. Kazee will be a much-needed upgrade over former starting free safety Xavier Woods, who despite starting in 14 more games (48-34) has half as many career interceptions as Kazee (10 to 5).
If he’s able to stay healthy, ball-hawk Damontae Kazee could be the missing piece on defense that the Cowboys have been searching for.
We recently took a look at what the Dallas Cowboys secondary is going to look like entering training camp during our Training Camp preview series on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here... we recently passed 10K subscribers!) so you don’t miss any of our videos!