For a sixth-round draft pick that most people didn’t know about prior to the draft, Quinton Bohanna sure has built a solid fan base pretty quickly. Cowboys fans have been clamoring for a big, space-eating nose tackle since the days when Jay Ratliff was playing the position at 303 pounds when soaking wet, so the selection of Bohanna became very exciting once people checked out his weight.
Bohanna played at a hulking 357 pounds in 2020 for the Kentucky Wildcats, but he had cut down to the 330 pound range for his Pro Day. That’s still a pretty big dude, especially for Cowboys fans who endured the days of Rod Marinelli demanding undersized interior defensive linemen. It’s another reason why so many fans were excited to sign Dontari Poe last year, but that didn’t work out at all.
Well, we got our first look at Bohanna in action on Thursday night in the Cowboys’ first preseason game, and the early results are very positive. Bohanna got in a good amount of work against the Steelers, primarily at the nose tackle and 1-technique spots, and it was immediately evident how good he could be for this defense.
Bohanna routinely showcased impressive strength and surprising agility for his size, holding his own against opposing offensive linemen and getting penetration into the backfield. He also displayed hustle; on one play he got an assisted tackle after running downfield to tackle a receiver from behind. That unwillingness to give up on the play was something Dallas didn’t see much of last year, at least early on.
All in all, Bohanna finished with three total tackles, but he also had several snaps where he affected the offense with his presence and technique. It wasn’t a whole lot to go off of, and it has to be stressed that Bohanna wasn’t going up against the cream of the crop anyway, but it was highly encouraging.
Bohanna is expected to have a minimal role, largely playing on early downs and obvious running plays, so it’s not like this is some budding star who’s about to lead the team in snaps or sacks or pressures. But Bohanna can represent a crucial missing piece from last year’s defense, which was a capable run-stopper in the interior who can keep the Cowboys linebackers clean. And if Thursday’s game was anything to go off of, Bohanna looks the part, and that should be very, very exciting.
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