Dan Quinn is back! We can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing we don’t have to stress out about who his potential replacement would be or how that would impact the Dallas Cowboys defense after watching them improve throughout the 2021 season. Now all we have to do is sit back and let Dan the Man go to work.
The offseason is young, but you can bet Quinn is already hard at work trying to figure out how to best construct this defense for the upcoming season. As such, he probably already has a list of players in mind that he’d like the Cowboys to target in both free agency or through the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s that “wishlist” we will try to guesstimate today. We’re not at all suggesting he will get most of this list, but one or two of them would be nice.
Free Agency - Jarran Reed
Jarran Reed would be an excellent addition to the Cowboys defensive line. He’s improved over the years as a pass rusher, but his bread-and-butter since entering the league out of Alabama is his ability to help shutdown the opponents rushing attack. While Dallas’ defense was better against the run in 2021, they could stand to improve even more.
2022 NFL Draft - Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
Overshadowed by Jordan Davis during his time at Georgia, Devonte Wyatt’s a DT in the 2022 draft class who could be at the top of Dan Quinn’s list. Wyatt played up and down the Bulldogs defensive front during his four-year career, from the 0-tech to the 7-tech. At 6’3”, 315 pounds, Wyatt is a good athlete for his size who plays with good balance and has excellent lateral mobility and change of direction.
Free Agency - Randy Gregory
Yes, of all the free agent defensive ends, Randy Gregory would still likely be at the top of Dan Quinn’s wishlist for the Dallas defense. You can bet your bottom dollar Quinn is going to be recruiting No. 94 hard this offseason. While Gregory will likely test the open market, a return to Dallas isn’t out of the question. It’s an organization that stood by him over the years and that may have created a familial bond he’s not ready to break.
2022 NFL Draft - Travon Walker, Georgia
Travon Walker is a tenacious and versatile defensive lineman who played both on the inside and out on the edge during his three-year career at Georgia. The 6’5”, 275 pound DE/DT is the type of player Dan Quinn is likely salivating over in the hopes of adding to his defensive front. Walker’s position flex would allow Quinn to be really creative about how he deploys his front four. He’d be yet another chess piece type of player like Micah Parsons.
Free Agency - Kwon Alexander
The experiment moving Keanu Neal from safety to linebacker wasn’t a complete fail, but it wasn’t a great success either. In Kwon Alexander, no experimentation is needed. Dan Quinn could simply plug him in at WILL LB and prosper. Alexander is one of the better weak side linebackers in the league and pairing him with Micah Parsons would give the Cowboys defense among the best LB duos in the NFL.
2022 NFL Draft - JoJo Domann, Nebraska
The move from safety to linebacker may not have worked for Keanu Neal, but it has for JoJo Domann. Whether it’s against the run or in pass coverage, Domann excelled playing LB during his time at Nebraska. At 6’1”, 230, he fits the criteria teams are looking for in modern-day NFL linebackers. He may not be the top-ranked LB in the 2022 draft class, but he’s a three-down player who would be a perfect fit in Quinn’s system.
Free Agency - Stephon Gilmore
Why not, right!? A four-time Pro Bowler, two-time First Team All-Pro, NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2019), and Super Bowl Champion. Stephon Gilmore would without a doubt be an excellent addition opposite Trevon Diggs in the Cowboys secondary in 2022. He may be on the wrong side of 30, turning 32 September 19, but he’d still be a pretty significant upgrade for Dallas’ pass defense.
2022 NFL Draft - Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
In all likelihood Derek Stingley is drafted way before the Cowboys are on the clock at No. 24. But, Stingley’s injury history over the past two seasons is concerning enough he could potentially slide within reach. Although unlikely, it could be a dream come true for Dan Quinn. The 6’1”, 195-pound CB would give the Cowboys two of the best talented, young corners in the league and immensely improve their pass defense.
Free Agency - Marcus Williams
Marcus Williams is somebody Dan Quinn should be pretty familiar with having had to play against him twice a year as the head coach for the Atlanta Falcons. That familiarity probably puts Williams at the top of his wishlist this offseason. The 25-year-old would be a perfect fit at free safety in Quinn’s system. His 15 interceptions in his five-year career with the Saints would be a welcomed addition to the back end of the Cowboys in 2022.
2022 NFL Draft - Daxton Hill, Michigan
Daxton Hill is one of the more talented and versatile safety prospects in the entire 2022 draft class. He excels in coverage playing out of the slot or as a single-high safety. That kind of versatility would allow Dan Quinn to get really creative with his coverage schemes. Hill may not be the biggest at just 6’0”, 192 pounds, but he’s tough and ultra-competitive and isn’t afraid to throw his body around in run support.