The entire Dallas Cowboys fan base is recuperating from Saturday's preseason game after DeMarvion Overshown was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Overshown's closing speed, ability to chase ball-carriers sideline-to-sideline and versatility in coverage caught Dan Quinn's eye from the start of camp. The carried over into preseason, as Overshown shined against the Jaguars and recorded three tackles against the Seahawks before he was carted off.
Incredibly, Overshown's injury occurred on an exceptional open-field tackle on a checkdown to Seahawks running back Zack Charbonnet.
His absence creates a void at an already-thin position, which forces Quinn to get creative to replace the rookie's athleticism and expected snap share.
While most pointed to Jabril Cox and Devin Harper as the next men up, Quinn has called on versatile DB Markquese Bell to see more work at linebacker.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn wants Markquese Bell to replace DeMarivon Overshown at linebacker.
What a pleasant surprise!
Bell has an uphill climb -- to say the least -- to carve out a role at safety behind Jayron Kearse, Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker. Being incorporated at linebacker allows Bell to play a potentially significant role on defense when he otherwise would have been buried on the depth chart and restricted to special teams.
One of many intriguing former UDFA's on the Cowboys' roster, Bell played 22 defensive snaps last season as a rookie. Hungry for playing time and to help the team overcome the loss of Overshown, Bell is willing to do whatever is asked of him, whether it be at linebacker or the defensive backfield ... or both.
“I’ve been getting reps in our dime package anyways, so it’s pretty normal,” Bell said, per team reporters. “Just some packages that we don’t have in dime, I just got to get used to them, get used to the run fits."
“However I can help the team is how I see myself. If they need me at linebacker, safety, hybrid — willing to do whatever. … Just getting more in-tune with it, learning gap fits.”
The Cowboys showed their conviction in Bell by keeping him on the active roster for most of last season, even though his role was limited. Stashing him on the practice squad would have run the risk of losing him to another team.
In light of this news, though, Bell is a virtual lock for the 53-man roster. That couldn't be said before Overshown's injury.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound defender posted a 9.51 relative athletic score coming out of college, headlined by a 4.41 40-yard dash and 10.3 broad jump. He's a little light relative to most linebackers, but his size, speed and overall athleticism should allow him to fill Overshown's shoes, especially with Quinn running the show.
The DC will know how to hide Bell's deficiencies and maximize his unique skillset.