The Cowboys could turn to a few rookies right out of the gate.
I predict that the Cowboys will have at least four different rookies to start on defense. What do you think? — ELDRIDGE DAVIS / JACKSON, MS
Nick: That's a pretty bold prediction. I wonder when the last time the Cowboys had four defensive players starting at one time – on a regular basis. I would say one, and even that one isn't set in stone. Sure, Micah Parsons will find a role on this defense but he's still going to have to beat out LVE and Jaylon Smith to get a spot in Week 1. Then again, it's hard to tell exactly how Dan Quinn is going to play this scheme but Parsons is the only one I'd say has a great chance to start. After that, it seems like role players that will compete for a spot. Could Kelvin Joseph to get in there? Perhaps. What about Osa Odighizuwa and Nahshon Wright or even Jabril Cox? I see them all playing, along with Chauncey Golston. But starting? Put my answer down as one.
3 under-the-radar matchups to watch at Cowboys training camp, including an intriguing rookie battle - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
Previewing three of the best matchups to watch at training camp.
Against most CBs, those traits would present a physical mismatch. However, against the 6-foot-4 and 183-pound Nahshon Wright, who also has 4.4 speed, that just won’t be the case. If there’s one thing Wright proved at Oregon State, it’s that he’s adept at taking away the deep ball. In 2020, Wright was targeted eight times on passes 20+ yards downfield, where he yielded just two completions while accumulating one pass breakup in the process, per Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Wright’s length and physicality at the line of scrimmage enable him to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage while his speed enables him to stay on top or in phase with (depending on the coverage) vertical routes, and his size and length allow him to contest the catch point.
Because of this, it’s going to be exciting to watch whether Wright or Fehoko is more successful on deep passes when matched up. Obviously, Fehoko isn’t going to just run go routes down the sideline all camp, as the Cowboys coaching staff will likely work hard on improving his route-running on intermediate routes, and there will be intrigue regardless of route type. While Fehoko and Wright are both rookies who may not have the biggest role in 2021, their matchup in camp could provide a glimpse as to who is more ready to contribute in the near future.
After a wild 2020, the Cowboys might need to expect the unexpected this coming season.
As they head into 2021, and especially after last season, the Cowboys have ample reason to prepare for even the more unlikely of scenarios. 2020 was the year just about everything which could go wrong did and we could see the effects in how Dallas molds this year’s roster. Just look at what’s happened at WR the last few years. In just a few years we’ve gone from the troubles of 2017 to having Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb leading a now-loaded receiving corps. You can clearly see how some of that past pain had affected recent decision making.
After all that Dallas has endured at quarterback since 2015, it’s a bit surprising they didn’t replace Dalton with a more experienced backup option. How much patience will they have with Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci, or Cooper Rush if none of these guys quickly impress in camp? Could we see the Cowboys quickly attempt to trade for or sign another QB?
There’s only so much any team can prepare for. There simply aren’t enough roster spots or great options to fill them with. Some blows can’t be recovered from until the next offseason or until someone gets off injured reserve.
It’s clear 2021 is a make-or-break year for the linebacker.
The Cowboys decided not to pick up the fifth-year option on linebacker Leighton Vander Esch back in May. That immediately makes this a contract season for the linebacker as he enters his fourth pro season. Does that mean it will be his last in Dallas?
Not necessarily but the Cowboys made a statement when they chose to do that, which happened to be right after the draft when the added both Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox. But, when healthy, Vander Esch has proven to be one of the best inside backers in the league, even earning All-Pro as a rookie in 2018.
So what does 2021 look like for LVE? Our staff writers debate what kind of season he will have.
Should the Cowboys look at a potential trade to upgrade the offensive line?
Is the interior O-line really a "major liability''? Or, with Williams at guard and second-year guy Tyler Biadasz at center, is that just relatively so because Martin, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins - three blue-chip talents - make up the rest of the line?
*What is the value of Powers? Owning raves about him, but then suggests Dallas surrender a late-round draft pick in exchange for him. But if he's so good (and we trust Owning while at the same time not pretending to know that he is ...) ... why is Baltimore dealing him for a low-value pick?
Dallas Cowboys insider predicts up to seven picks for Trevon Diggs - Steven Mullenax, FanSided's The Landry Hat
The second-year cornerback is coming into the season with some high expectations.
One area where the Cowboys have struggled defensively for years has been in creating turnovers. Particularly, forcing interceptions. As a team last season, Dallas recorded 10 total picks, which was tied for 23rd in the NFL with six other teams. In fact, the Cowboys haven’t had a defender record more than three interceptions in a single season since linebacker Bruce Carter had five picks during the 2014 season. So when someone predicts as many as seven interceptions for a Dallas defender, it’s newsworthy.
Here’s what longtime beat writer for DallasCowboys.com, Nick Eatman, wrote in response to a mailbag question on the team’s official site about which player might be ready to become the next superstar in Dallas …
” … give me Trevon Diggs. This kid was thrown into the action last year and it wasn’t always pretty. He got beat a few times but he also made his share of plays, too. I think in his second year, he’ll get even better and his playing style is one that could get him 6-7 interceptions in a season. If he can do that, coupled with an improved defense, there’s a chance Diggs can take his own game to that next level.”
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