In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys not only possessed the worst defense in the NFL, but also in their franchise’s storied history. This year, the Cowboys are looking to rebound from that infamous achievement and I believe they will. And I also believe there are five main reasons why this Dallas defense will be better than last year’s squad.
Despite having the same number of players available to them, it feels like this year’s squad has more young talent on the defensive side of the ball. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that the Cowboys drafted seven defensive players out of their nine total picks in this year’s NFL Draft. And then add on the free agency additions of veteran players like defensive end Jeremy Mincey and defensive tackles Terrell McClain and Amobi Okoye. All of the sudden, this defense feels overloaded with talent.
One of the main issues with the 2013 roster was it’s lack of depth. Due to injury and roster mismanagement, the Cowboys front office spent most of the 2013 season signing and releasing free agent players off-the-streets to help fill voids along their defensive line. Those moves resulted in finding gems like defensive end George Selvie and defensive tackle Nick Hayden. But for every player that panned out, there were more that didn’t. Players like defensive tackles Marvin Austin, Everett Dawkins, Jason Vega, and Corvey Irvin.
Also helping the Cowboys depth are the return of injured players. Defensive ends Tyrone Crawford, Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Ben Bass have all returned from season-ending injuries to help this squad in 2014.
I believe it is this mix of youth and delayed/untapped potential that will fuel this Cowboys defense to perform better in 2014. And that’s despite the subtraction of All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackles Jason Hatcher and Jay Ratliff from last year’s struggling roster.
The list continues on the next page…