Dallas Cowboys linebackers are cream of the NFC East crop

Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Cowboys
Tony Pollard #20, Dallas Cowboys, Lorenzo Carter #59, David Mayo #55, New York Giants (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

New York Giants

Markus Golden, David Mayo, Blake Martinez, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Kyler Fackrell

Since the Giants are the only team in the NFC East to employ a 3-4 scheme to their defense, outside linebackers Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter were counted towards both their defensive line as well as the linebacking corps. Even so, New York is still on the lower end of the scale when it comes to this group.

Consistency and availability have both held Golden back from being a more highly-touted player in the league. For the first time in his career, Golden started every game in 2019. As a result, he posted double-digit sacks and almost 75 tackles. Carter, meanwhile, has underwhelmed so far as a Giant. The hope is that an all-new coaching staff in 2020 will help him maximize his potential.

Fackrell, heading into his fifth year in the league had 10.5 sacks in 2018… and just six in the other three years of NFL service. Ximines played pretty well as a rookie, garnering 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits in limited time. These two will push for rotational spots if/when Golden and Carter have issues.

In the middle, Mayo became a starter for the first time in his career in 2019, finishing second on the team in tackles with 82. Second place will likely be the best he can hope for in 2020 as the Giants brought tackle machine Blake Martinez via free agency from Green Bay.

Martinez has three straight seasons with over 140 tackles which signifies a huge upgrade to whatever else this team has to offer. Still, the lack of depth has to be concerning as just one injury to either guy in the interior could spell doom for Big Blue.