If these three players flourish, the Dallas Cowboys could become a playoff force.
The Dallas Cowboys have a healthy amount of new rookies and free agents that could shine and take the team to new heights. Reducing it down to three specific names is not an easy task.
Knowing the recent shortcomings in Dallas so well and having an idea of what the current Cowboys players are still reasonably capable of producing makes it easier.
Below are three players with a solid chance of upgrading their position over last season in a significant way. And in turn helping new head coach Mike McCarthy mold the 2020 Cowboys into a playoff force.
LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH (MIDDLE LINEBACKER)
At 6-4, 256 with great instincts and speed, a healthy Leighton Vander Esch is a force to be reckoned with. After a neck injury in 2019 and offseason surgery, he’s supposed to be in full health and sliding back to middle linebacker.
Two important acquisitions that could have made this list are free agent defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. The powerful, more hefty tandem will undoubtedly work wonders for Vander Esch by keeping interior linemen occupied long enough for him to diagnose and strike the appropriate holes.
Many fans have concerns about his durability. Yet if Vander Esch can resurrect his 2018 Pro Bowl play with less traffic to contend with, the young beast could have a career season and become a dominant, second level inside enforcer.
BLAKE JARWIN (TIGHT END)
When speaking of tight end, it’s hard to criticize the great Jason Witten when the future Hall of Famer is a living Cowboys legend. But anyone with eyes could see 2019 Witten was reduced to a short possession target with no dynamic capabilities.
Blake Jarwin has stretch the field, after-catch abilities Witten had lost over a long career. With defenses focused on Dallas’ new stellar wide receiver trio and dangerous runner Ezekiel Elliott, Jarwin could fly under the radar in 2020 causing serious damage.
The Cowboys offense is firmly positioned to unleash a pick your poison offense with too many weapons to handle. Dak Prescott and Jarwin must establish an early connection, thus further confusing defensive game plans to their benefit.
HA HA CLINTON-DIX (SAFETY)
Jeff Heath was a solid special teams player and rotational safety. But relying on him as a starter the last three seasons was front office malpractice. Heath had a knack for timely big plays but was often a chink in the armor smart coaches preyed on.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the first legitimate candidate with an opportunity to upgrade Heath’s safety role in a significant way. The former first round pick and Pro Bowler doesn’t have to be elite. He simply has to form a solid, reliable tandem with fellow starter Xavier Woods.
Two capable safeties would remove a weak spot from the position making a big difference in fielding a quality secondary. Clinton-Dix is only 27 and has excelled before. His strong presence in 2020 would add marked improvement at safety.