When the Dallas Cowboys selected LSU linebacker Jabril Cox in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, there was plenty of optimism surrounding the pick. Cox was coming off a very impressive senior season at LSU in which he recorded 58 total tackles, 6.5 TFL, and three interceptions. The 24-year-old figured to play a big role in Dallas’ linebacker rotation during his rookie year.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys and Cox, the linebacker saw only limited playing time before suffering a torn ACL that forced him to miss the rest of the season.
At the end of March, Stephen Jones stated that Cox is “doing really well”, and there seems to be optimism that he will be ready to start the regular season.
Even with Leighton Vander Esch back, the Cowboys will need Cox to play a significant role on their defense in the upcoming season. Keanu Neal, who departed in free agency, played 580 defensive snaps last season, something Dallas will need Cox to do this year.
The linebacker is certainly going to get an opportunity to make a name for himself. With his athletic ability and college production, there’s reason to believe he can step in and produce during his second season in the league. In fact, Bleacher Report named Cox as Dallas’ “breakout player in 2022”.
The Dallas Cowboys suffered several key losses this offseason because of cap concerns. Some of those losses, like Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory, were at positions that Dallas was able to backfill. One of the least mentioned departures was linebacker Keanu Neal, despite Neal finishing the year fourth on the team in total tackles.
Dallas tried to land star middle linebacker Bobby Wagner but ultimately couldn’t match his asking price. Instead, Dallas set its price and walked away from negotiations. The team felt comfortable banking on 2021 fourth-round pick Jabril Cox. Cox suffered a torn ACL on October 31 last year. He fits the mold as a big-bodied but fast open-field runner. He was raw in college at shedding blocks but excelled in space.
Dallas will look to keep Cox as clean as it can. To go from someone who finished with 72 tackles to someone who had two total tackles last year is an incredible opportunity for Cox. The pathway is clear for him.
If you’re looking at potential breakout players on the Cowboys’ roster, Jabril Cox is right near the top of the list. If he can get fully healthy and stay on the field, Cox has a good chance to be one of Dallas’ biggest positive developments this upcoming season.