3 players Dallas Cowboys fans shouldn’t sleep on

Tight end Sean McKeon #84 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Tight end Sean McKeon #84 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Justin Hamilton, Dallas Cowboys
Justin Hamilton #79 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Justin Hamilton, DT

In 2020, the Cowboys’ run defense was among the worst in the NFL. Dallas finished 31st in the league last season allowing an average of 158.8 rushing yards per game and a whopping 2,541 total yards on the ground through 16 contests.

That poor performance paved the way for defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to be fired after a single season and the hiring of former Atlanta Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn, in his place. Under Quinn’s watchful eye, the Cowboys brought in several new faces to man the interior of their defensive line.

Dallas signed both Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins in free agency. They then drafted Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna to also help address their interior defensive line issues. And all of them have had a solid performance in camp so far.

But there’s a player who is entering his second season in Dallas that fans need to keep an eye on as well. And that’s defensive tackle Justin Hamilton. The 28-year old who went undrafted out of Louisiana-Lafayette back in 2015 was the first player mentioned by three-time Super Bowl champion offensive lineman Nate Newton when recently asked about what stood out for him following the preseason opener.

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While the Cowboys may have been looking for outside help to aid their run defense, perhaps the answer was already on the roster the whole time. The 6-foot-2, 315-pound Hamilton is getting an opportunity to shine under Quinn, the former defensive line coach. Cowboys fans, keep a lookout for No. 99 through the rest of the team’s preseason matchups as he could end up making an impact when the real games begin.