Dallas Cowboys: 3 defenders under the most pressure in 2020

Tyrone Crawford, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Tyrone Crawford, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Here’s our best guess of the three Dallas Cowboys feeling the pressure to perform in 2020

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a disappointing 8-8 season that spurred numerous offseason moves including the hiring of a new head coach in Mike McCarthy. And with the new set of expectations comes additional pressure.

But the truth is anytime you are entering a new NFL season, the pressure to outperform the previous year is ever-present. If you’re the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, there’s pressure to repeat. If you’re the Cincinnati Bengals, there’s pressure to win more than just two games in 2020.

But when we look beyond the team as a whole and scan the roster, which Cowboys might be under the most pressure entering the new season? Here’s our best guess of the three defenders likely feeling the most heat to perform this year.

Chidobe Awuzie, CB

A second-round selection in 2017, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is entering the final year of his rookie deal in Dallas. And he’s doing so with an entirely new defensive coaching staff to impress. The exodus of Pro Bowl corner Byron Jones has placed a spotlight on the play of Awuzie, who now assumes the role of the team’s number one defensive back.

New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has already gone on record saying he wants more turnovers out this Cowboys’ secondary. And Awuzie has posted just three interceptions in his first three seasons in the NFL.

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Trysten Hill, DT

Defensive tackle Trysten Hill was the Cowboys’ top selection in 2019. Selected in the second round, 58th overall, out of UCF, the 22-year old underwhelmed during his rookie season. Hill played in just seven games after being a healthy scratch most of his first year, recording a total of five tackles and two quarterback hits in only 121 defensive snaps.

With his biggest champion, former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, now in Las Vegas, and the signings of free-agent defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe this offseason, Hill could be in danger of becoming a final cut casualty. Yet, his high/recent draft status and potential ceiling combined with the possibility of an expanded roster due to COVID-19 will likely save him for another season. Yet, there likely isn’t a player on the team with more to prove then Trysten Hill.

Will the Dallas Cowboys finally make this veteran defender a cap casualty? Probably not.

Tyrone Crawford, DE

In the eyes of many fans, versatile defensive end Tyrone Crawford has never been able to live up to the massive five-year, $45 million contract extension he inked back in 2015. And season after season ever since, Crawford’s name has been linked as a potential salary-cap causality as his play seemingly never matched his lofty paycheck.

Now, the 30-year old defensive end is entering the final year of that contract. And he’s scheduled to make a base salary of $8 million in 2020. On top of that, Crawford is coming off his worst season as a professional, playing in a mere four games due to a hip injury.

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Following double hip surgery this offseason, the eight-year veteran has much to prove to a new coaching staff this summer. But the fact the Cowboys have so many unanswered questions at the right defensive end position likely makes Crawford far too valuable to move on from as a cap casualty in what could be his final year in Dallas.