Dallas Cowboys: 5 best fortified positions before camp

Andy Dalton - Cincinnati Bengals - Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Andy Dalton - Cincinnati Bengals - Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images /
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Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith
Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /


When fully healthy, Leighton Vander Esch is a proven Pro Bowl caliber player. His 100% healthy declaration was made after offseason neck surgery. Jaylon Smith also has a Pro Bowl and should regain focus under a new defensive staff.

Starting SAM linebacker Sean Lee is a two-time Pro Bowler and ideal insurance policy. Lee respectably filled in for Vander Esch for seven games in 2019. Joe Thomas provides quality depth with 67 NFL games and 10 starts.

Justin March is another experienced backup with 47 NFL games and 5 starts. 2019 preseason surprise rookie Luke Gifford adds youthful excitement to the depth picture. He has the size and aggression to contribute if needed.


At the bare minimum, Dallas returns the same 2018 starting offensive line. That unit started undersized, inexperienced rookie Connor Williams. Center Joe Looney had only 13 previous starts in six seasons. Both are far more experienced starters now.

Talented youngsters Connor McGovern and rookie Tyler Biadasz should make a heavy push for interior starting spots. New addition Cameron Erving adds 42 NFL starts to the swing tackle, and has played all three line positions.

This position group is likely rated a little lower than the eventual result will be. The 2018 starting line was only above average and the talented youth is unproven at this point. If McGovern or Biadasz show up strong, the group will elevate.