How good can the Dallas Cowboys defense be in 2020?

Dallas Cowboys defense (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys defense (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Cowboys 2020 Defense – Best and Worst Case

In a best-case scenario, let’s say Vander Esch heals perfectly, and Dallas is able to sign their two best defensive free agents: Robert Quinn, and Byron Jones. This would help a lot, as Jones is one of the better corners in the league, and Quinn is an excellent pass rusher, recording 11.5 sacks in 2019.

The Cowboys would still have to acquire a handful of defensive linemen, a few safeties and at least one cornerback. In this ideal situation, Dallas would sign some of their lower-priced linemen and safeties, say Hyder and Woods on the D-line, and Heath and Frazier at safety.

They would still have to bolster themselves at the same three positions through free agency and the draft. Personally, I’m hoping the front office uses all or most of their premium draft picks on the defensive side.

Suppose the front office drafts either monster South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw or LSU’s star safety Grant Delpit, then uses their second-round pick on the other position, and drafts the best cornerback still on the board.

Or perhaps, there’s a similar draft situation, but Dallas also signs one of the better free-agent defensive tackles on the open market. If there’s enough in the budget for that.

In this scenario, the best I can think of, it’s actually possible that Dallas upgrades its defense, getting better at both the safety and defensive tackle positions, while maintaining their strength elsewhere. But that’s the dream scenario.

It’s also possible that Vander Esch, who suffered a scary neck injury last year, either can’t play next year, isn’t as good as expected, or re-injures himself. The front office may not be able to sign Quinn, Jones, or both. If not, it’s likely their replacements aren’t as good.

Let’s face it, it’s hard to find and pay players of that quality. And signing both of them seems unlikely since Dallas must also sign several star players on the offensive side.

We’d love to see America’s Team find a bunch of studs in free agency and the draft, but that’s always a crapshoot. You never know.

This means Dallas’s worst-case scenario includes a weaker defensive line and secondary. And maybe even a worse linebacker corps. This could happen. It’s not called worst-case for nothing.

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And of course, the reality could be somewhere in between these two pictures. What do you think Dallas’s defense will look like next year? Do you see a Doomsday Defense, or a sub-par unit in the Cowboys future?