How much better would the Dallas Cowboys be?
The Cowboys have heavily improved their defense from last year. Give credit to the arrival of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and linebacker Micah Parsons and the development of defensive end Randy Gregory and cornerback Trevon Diggs.
Many players have either taken a step up or arrived in Dallas hungry to compete. Together, they form one of the more entertaining defenses in the NFL. While it has been an impressive group thus far, what could they look like when everyone returns? Let’s start with the starboy, Tank Lawrence.
He is one of the better run-defending edge rushers in the NFL, racking up 40+ tackles in every season since 2017 while remaining a pass-rushing threat. With Gregory having a breakout season, DeMarcus shouldn’t have to worry about triple teams anymore.
Gallimore is an athletic and powerful defensive tackle. While he will make some mistakes, the Oklahoma product will make up for it with a big defensive stop. The Cowboys could use some of that big-play ability upfront while keeping him fresh in a rotational committee.
You can never have too many good cornerbacks. Look at the Carolina Panthers. Having Kelvin Joseph join Anthony Brown and Trevon Diggs gives the Cowboys the power to keep up with most receiving corps. Shutting everyone down is a far stretch, but they should be able to limit big plays.
Yes, the team has given up a lot of yards, but adding Joseph to the mix gives Dallas another instinctive corner. He isn’t a big-play cornerback, but he will play tight in coverage and force opposing quarterbacks to make tight-window throws.
Trysten Hill has been a mystery player for the Cowboys since he got drafted. The brutal injury combined with former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli not giving him any opportunity mean we don’t know what we have.
Hopefully, he can add pressure on the interior as he did before the injury last season. In five games, he racked up three quarterback hits. That will help force a bad throw or a sack from one of Lawrence, Parsons, or Gregory.
Big hits are a great way to get momentum in your favor. That is what Donovan Wilson will provide Dallas. His underrated play in coverage will have opposing receivers aching by the end of the game.
The above-average defense is in line to become one of the top ten in the NFL. The increase in pressure upfront will keep the rushing defense dominant while forcing bad throws and racking up more sacks. Combine that with well-rested defensive backs, and you have a team ready to make big plays.
Realistically, the defense doesn’t need to be spectacular. If the Cowboys can continue forcing turnovers, then they will be in good shape. The big-play defense and top offense in the NFL will have the Cowboys competing in the playoffs. While I want more than that, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.