Despite the Dallas Cowboys drafting four players for their defensive secondary, it appears veteran safety Jeff Heath has the inside track on a starting role.
One of the biggest positional battles Dallas Cowboys fans will be watching once training camp kicks off next month will be at the safety position. With the exodus of veteran safety Barry Church in free agency this offseason, there is a major void to be filled in the secondary.
The Cowboys made some moves this offseason to help find cemented starter Byron Jones a partner to pair with at safety. Prior to the draft, Dallas signed veteran safety Robert Blanton. During the draft, the Cowboys found possible replacements for Church in second round selection Chidobe Awuize and sixth round pick Xavier Woods.
Despite those additions to the secondary, veteran safety Jeff Heath is still seen as the leading candidate to win that starting role. Undrafted out of Saginaw Valley State in 2013, Heath has been one of the more reliable players on the Cowboys roster, specifically on special teams.
But Heath turned heads during Dallas’ lone playoff contest last season, recording three tackles, a sack and two interceptions against Green Bay Packers’ All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers. One of those picks was called back, but his outstanding performance was undeniable.
According to Byron Jones, stepping up in those types of situations is kinda Heath’s thing.
"“[Heath] wasn’t getting a lot of playing time earlier in the season but he was coming in at critical situations and making good plays. That’s what Jeff Heath’s main thing is,” Cowboys safety Byron Jones told the Dallas Morning News last week. “Even on special teams, he’s a core guy. He’s a guy who is calling the plays, he’s a personal protector on punt [coverage]. That’s a big job. If there’s one guy we can trust with that, it’s Jeff Heath.”"
Jeff Heath has spent the past four years earning the trust and admiration of the Dallas Cowboys’ coaches and players. And now the 26-year old has earned his first real crack at winning the starting safety role in Dallas.