If you were able to sustain viewing interest through the breadth of the Cowboys’ last preseason game as they were pummeled by Jacksonville, you likely noticed a few key things.
First, that Dallas’ secondary made the Jaguars’ offense look like the second coming of The Greatest Show on Turf. Second, if the ‘Boys run into any issues regarding Dak Prescott during the season, they’ll be fried to a burnt crisp if forced to rely on backup QB play.
But the third thing that you may have gathered amidst the debacle, was the strength and depth of the team’s linebacking group. We’re all fully aware of the impact that Keanu Neal and Micah Parsons can have on the group this year. We’ve grown accustomed to Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith being solid fixtures in the lineup.
But we didn’t know much about Luke Gifford. And Sunday, the Nebraska product had the game’s announcing crew reminiscing about old Sean Lee highlights as he jetted around the field, making stop after stop en route to a team-high 11 total tackles.
Gifford wasn’t the only field general making stud plays.
If your eyes persevered through the matchup’s final whistle, you probably noticed a certain young stalwart continuously cracking down on the football, and etching his name into the box score.
Jabril Cox played Sunday’s matchup in its entirety. Dallas’ fourth-round selection was everywhere on the field, making disruptive interruptions in the passing game, shutting down several rushing forages, and even barnstorming his way into the backfield.
Cox created bedlam in Jacksonville’s offensive scheme to the tune of nine tackles (five solo, four assisted). He showed exactly why his career progression has skyrocketed from the FCS, to a repeat attempt for glory with the FBS champion LSU Tigers in 2020, to a now potential immovable role on any given Sunday.
Jabril Cox is going to be good. Clip 1. pic.twitter.com/pfcL8hRTFT— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) August 22, 2021
Cox can just about do it all on the gridiron, and the biggest thing that’s working against him now is his overcrowded LB room. In fact, the only rookie LB who’s outpaced him in the run support department (76.2 grade on PFF) is his own teammate — Micah Parsons (85.7).
Cox’s snap count when the games do count though, is zero. But should his preseason performances translate to the big ones, Dan Quinn will have no choice but to put him on the field.