1. Al Harris, defensive backs coach, Dallas Cowboys
Ever since Dan Quinn took over the Cowboys defense, there's been one noticeable change — the defensive backs finally can create turnovers. Some still have nightmares about the 205 season when no cornerbacks recorded a pick until the season was nearly over. And then it was Ayodeji Olatoye and Terrance Mitchell of all people to break the slump.
It never truly improved under Rod Marinelli and then when Mike Nolan took over, it was still a struggle. Dallas finished that year with 10 interceptions which isn't great, but they did at least get three from rookie Trevon Diggs. Then in 2021, Diggs topped the entire team's total when he had 11 picks on his own. As a team, they nearly tripled their totals, hauling in 26 with only four coming from non-defensive backs.
Quinn's defense kept up the good fortune with 24 interceptions in 2022 and with Diggs injured in 2023, that number fell to 17. However, they did get nine from DaRon Bland who not only has the most picks in the NFL since being drafted in 2022, but he also set the record for the most pick-sixes in a season.
While Quinn gets — and deserves — a lot of praise for this, the players are just as quick to credit Al Harris, the team's defensive backs coach. Trevon Diggs quickly tweeted after Quinn's departure that he wants Harris to replace Quinn.
Harris, a former Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback, has given these guys the confidence to go get the ball. He's going to be a defensive coordinator soon in the NFL and the Cowboys would likely regret it should he ever leave.