The Dallas Cowboys finished last season ranked 23rd in total defense in the NFL. They allowed a whopping 29.6 points per game to opposing offenses, the fifth-highest amount in the league in 2020.
That poor performance combined with a 6-10 record led to the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan after a single season and the hiring of his replacement, former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn.
With Quinn in place and several changes made to the defensive coaching staff, the attention now turns to the current roster in Dallas. Here are three young defenders we believe will need to level up in 2021 for this defense to make a comeback.
Donovan Wilson, S
The emergence of former 2019 sixth-rounder Donovan Wilson last year was a pleasant surprise in what was another down season in Dallas. Not starting until Week Five, Wilson would establish himself as an enforcer across the middle and a much-needed playmaker. He recorded 71 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions as a 10-game starter.
With fellow starting safety Xavier Woods scheduled to hit free agency next month, the Cowboys should look to Wilson to become a stabilizing force in his third season. And to do so, he’ll need to become a much more consistent defender.