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Cowboys news: Linebacker group is quite young with Micah Parsons at defensive end

The latest news and notes surrounding the Dallas Cowboys.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

If Micah Moves, Who Replaces His LB Presence? - Nick Harris,

The youth movement at linebacker is incoming for 2023.

Micah Parsons made headlines last week when he mentioned to reporters that he was bulking his body to primarily line up as a defensive lineman in 2023 as he gets set to hone in on his pass rushing ability full-time for his third season in Dallas.

While the Cowboys haven’t confirmed nor denied the possibility, it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise considering his usage in 2022 compared to 2021. In his second season, Parsons played 80.5-percent of his defensive snaps as a defensive lineman compared to just 41.4-percent as a rookie. There will be options to replace Parsons’ presence in the second level, but experience within those options is hard to come by as the combination of Jabril Cox, Damone Clark, DeMarvion Overshown and Devin Harper all have just 17 games of NFL defensive experience combined. Malik Jefferson and Takk McKinley have more reps to their name, but can the Cowboys consider those guys reliable on a down-to-down basis?

“We’re a young room,” Leighton Vander Esch said. “I thought we were young last year, but this year we’re even younger. It’s gonna be fun. We got a lot to learn still and a long way to develop.”

NFL Rumors: Cowboys wanted CB who landed with rival, Dallas has big plans for mid-round pick - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat

A former Longhorn weapon looks to be used as such by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Despite boasting one of the league’s top defenses and re-signing multiple key free agents and trading for Stephon Gilmore, the Cowboys went out and used three of their first four picks on defensive players, including Michigan nose tackle Mazi Smith in the first round.

The sheer respect for and trust in Quinn suggests Dallas hopes to keep him around — perhaps as head coach — for the foreseeable future.

Third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown is a prime example of that. In position to draft a running back, receiver or offensive linemen, the Cowboys invested another high pick (No. 90 overall) in the Texas linebacker.

While Overshown is raw, his athleticism sticks out when watching film and Fowler revealed Dallas has big plans for the former Longhorn.

Overshown donned many hats in the Texans’ defense, including as an outright inside linebacker, playing off the edge in space and dropping into the box. He can run stride-for-stride in coverage against receivers and tight ends to boot.

Dak Prescott, Brandin Cooks shower each other with praise - Ross Love, Inside The Star

The respect for one another gives Cowboys fans hope of a tremendous partnership in 2023 and beyond.

If their mutual appreciation is a foreword for the 2023 season, Dak Prescott and Brandin Cooks could produce something very special this year.

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Brandin Cooks in the hope of adding a much-needed dynamic playmaker to the offense.

And Dak Prescott feels like they have done just that.

Dak was asked if he believes Brandin Cooks can bring an element to the offense, to which he emphatically stated, “Yeah he can, definitely.”

He went on to describe his admiration for how Cooks conducts himself by saying, “The moment that guy showed up, just watching him in workouts and how he carries himself from drill-to-drill, what he does pre-workouts [and] post-workouts to take care of his body to have that speed.”

“I’ve been around some great ones, we’ve been throwing, and let me tell you, that guy can sling that ball. I’m just excited to be able to get going, no doubt. That’s all I can say. He’s special” Cooks said.

Cooks continued to comment on Dak’s leadership. He said, “There’s a couple guys I’ve been around that can lead a team, and the way that he’s doing it, to be this young, is unbelievable, for sure.”

Cowboys Rookie Luke Schoonmaker: 12-Personnel & ‘Total Package’ Tight End? - Mike D’Abate,

The tight end room will sure be an interesting one with the most recent addition via the second round.

The addition of former Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker in the second-round (No. 58 overall) in the 2023 NFL Draft may not add the same offensive sizzle as their trade for veteran wideout Brandin Cooks. However, the 24-year-old is poised make his mark in Big D.

At his best, Schoonmaker is an effective pass-catcher. He finished his 2022 season with Michigan with 35 catches for 418 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 11.9 yards-per-reception. Still, he might find himself most-valued as a stout blocker in the run game at the pro level. His is skill set as a blocker not only sets him apart from several of his fellow draftees, it also may make him a fast favorite of coaches Mike McCarthy and Brian Schottenheimer — not to mention quarterback Dak Prescott.

Schoonmaker combines both strength and body control to keep defenders at bay, while sealing the edges. During his tenure with the Wolverines, he became such an adept blocker that it has allowed him the chance to utilize the ‘Y’ delay concept in the passing game — in which the linebacker drops to defend the pass, but the presumed blocking tight end takes an open passing lane. As a result, the 6-6, 250-pound tight end has the tools to be an effective offensive weapon off of play-action for Prescott, attacking up the seams, in the flats, or on crossing routes.

Cowboys’ Potential Trade, Cut Candidates After 2023 NFL Draft - Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report

Some familiar names could being seeing their days in Dallas numbered ahead of the upcoming season.

According to Spotrac, the Dallas Cowboys have 67 active players. By the time the season starts, that number will need to be pared down to 53.

That means some of the names on the roster will be gone. The Cowboys have $16.7 million in salary-cap space, and there are still needs they could choose to address in free agency.

With the ability to roll cap space over into next season, Dallas might look to tidy up its financial situation or reduce a logjam at a certain position.

Either way, here are three candidates to be cut or traded—based on recent production, cost, the depth chart or a combination of all three—as we enter the quiet period of the NFL offseason.

CB Jourdan Lewis

It doesn’t seem likely that Jourdan Lewis will be released. The slot corner brings value to the defense, though the team would save $4.7 million by parting ways with him.

He has just one season left on his contract anyway, and the Cowboys might not use him in their starting lineup.

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