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2023 NFL Draft: Predicting Dan Quinn “guys” at each position on defense

Which defensive prospects could Dan Quinn have his eye on?

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Coaches, just like everyone else, have certain players they like above others each year in the NFL Draft. It’s only natural to have personal favorites, players you would pound the table for if you could on “Draft Day”. Opinions will vary of course, which makes it all the more interesting to discuss.

Today, we’re going to predict one defensive player at each position who could be labeled as Dan Quinn “guys”. Quinn has done a masterful job turning the Cowboys defense into one of the better units in the entire league, but could believe he could make them even better by fighting for players he believes fits his system better, which is the premise behind this exercise.

DT - Gervon Dexter, Florida

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Tennessee at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

From former Florida Gators HC Dan Mullen to the Dallas Cowboys new assistant DL/quality control coach Sharrif Floyd to Dan Quinn. Connect the dots and Gervon Dexter could definitely be a Quinn “guy”. The 6’6”, 310-pound DT has arguably the most upside of any player at his position in the 2023 draft class. He’s a strong, physical, coordinated athlete with impressive length. He has yet to be the sum of all his parts though. He’s a flash player, but one who could be a moldable piece of clay for Dan Quinn to build from the ground up.

EDGE - Will McDonald, Iowa State

Ohio v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

The fact that Dan Quinn was not only at Will McDonald’s Pro Day, but also put him through drills should tell you all you need to know that he is definitely a Quinn “guy”. With a similar slender 6’4”, 245-pound frame and 34 7/8 inch arms, the former Iowa State pass rusher is almost a mirror image of Randy Gregory, and has a similar skill set. He can easily capture the edge with his quick burst and ability to bend and flatten out when rushing the passer. He has work to do as a run defender, but should improve with better coaching.

LB - DeMarvion Overshown, Texas

Baylor v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Even after re-signing Leighton Vander Esch the Cowboys need more depth at the linebacker position due to the fact Luke Gifford left in free agency. It seems likely that Anthony Barr won’t be back either. DeMarvion Overshown is an intriguing LB prospect who could help in that area and someone Dan Quinn apparently already has his sights set on. The safety turn LB is a rangy player with the versatility to play inside or out. He is equally effective dropping in the coverage in the passing game as well as playing downhill in the run game.

CB - Julius Brents, Kansas State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Missouri at Kansas State

Trading for Stephon Gilmore was a brilliant move on the Dallas Cowboys part, but he could just be a one-year rental. Finding the long-term solution opposite Trevon Diggs is still very much in play. Someone like Julius Brents possesses the physical traits Dan Quinn looks for in an outside CB prospect. At 6’3”, 198-pounds with 34 inch arms, the former Kansas State CB is as close to perfect fit for Quinn system as there is in the 2023 draft class. He could potentially push Gilmore for the starting job, but more likely replace him next year.

S - Ronnie Hickman, Ohio State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Indiana at Ohio State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are in pretty good shape at safety after re-signing Donovan Wilson, however, both Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker are free agents in 2024. If they are planning ahead for the future a player like Ronnie Hickman is someone who could be a Dan Quinn “guy”. Quinn was on hand at Ohio State’s Pro Day seen watching the DB drills, quite possibly with his eyes on the 6’1”, 203-pound safety. He is a versatile, physical player with special teams value who possesses a skill set to develop into a starter down the road.

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