1. Carlos Watkins, DT
Dallas went rather heavy at defensive end. They wound up keeping both Tarell Basham and Dante Fowler, Jr. which was a bit of a surprise in itself. Throughout camp and the preseason, it seemed the two were battling for the same spot but they stayed along with DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams, and Chauncey Golston.
Along with six defensive ends, the Cowboys kept five defensive tackles with Osa Odighizuwa, Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, John Ridgeway, and Quinton Bohanna making the cut. The missing name from this list happens to be Carlos Watkins who started 14 games last season.
While Watson wasn’t a huge playmaker, he was a trusted vet that did his job. He finished the 2021 season with 32 tackles, one sack, and had one of the better plays of the year when he picked off Taysom Hill and ran the ball back for a 29-yard touchdown.
With Watkins out, the defensive tackles end up being very young in Dallas. Odighizuwa and Bohanna are both in their second season, Gallimore is in year three, and Ridgeway is a rookie. Hill ends up being the veteran of the group, entering his fourth season.
Even with Hill joining the team in 2019, he still isn’t the one with the most game experience. Through his first three years, he has played in just 18 games whereas Gallimore played in 19 over the past two years.
It could end up working out for them but it seemed as though Watkins was safe, especially with how up and down Hill has been throughout his career.