3 Cowboys who will immediately benefit from Mike Zimmer’s arrival

Which Cowboys players will immediately benefit from the arrival of new DC Mike Zimmer?

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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The loss of Dan Quinn looms pretty large for the Dallas Cowboys in 2024, but the addition of longtime NFL coach Mike Zimmer softens the blow significantly.

Zimmer has a history of some really great defenses, including during his time with the Minnesota Vikings as their head coach as well as with the Cincinnati Bengals as their defensive coordinator. Just like when the Cowboys brought in Dan Quinn as a former head coach to run the defensive side of the ball, there is once again an expectation that Zimmer's presence will elevate certain players on the roster.

But which players stand to benefit the most from the arrival of Dallas's new defensive coordinator? Let's take a look at a trio of players who could really benefit this season.

1. Mazi Smith, DL

There are a lot of reasons why the Cowboys should remain optimistic about Mazi Smith, who was frankly a disappointment as a first-round pick in 2023.

First of all, the Cowboys were playing Smith out of position in 2023, so it probably won't be hard for Mike Zimmer to put him back at the 1-tech and get him in position to do what he does best on the interior defensive line.

Second, you almost expect progression after year one based on the fact that things went poorly his rookie year. Smith is an extremely hard worker off the field, so it would be a surprise to see him regress after a tough rookie season.

Third, getting those fresh eyes on Smith's 2023 tape could give the Cowboys a thousand-foot view of what went wrong. This isn't exactly a "thousand ways not to make a lightbulb" sort of situation, but having an experienced coach like Zimmer come in and evaluate what went wrong last year should set the young defensive lineman up for success in 2024.