Leighton Vander Esch
Micah Parsons is the player who gets the most attention on this Dallas defense, and for good reason. He's been one of the best defenders in the league and could be in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year discussion if he takes another step forward. He's listed as a linebacker but is typically a pass-rusher — and a very good one at that.
The primary linebackers — in the traditional sense that is — will be Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark. Vander Esch nearly left in the offseason but the Cowboys wisely brought him back. He might not be flashy but he does his job consistently and is always around the ball.
With Demarvion Overshown injured, Jabril Cox has a huge poortunity in front of him but needs to hold off Devin Harper. Isaiah Land makes it as well but likely spends most of the season inactive.
Jourdan Lewis (PUP)
Dallas has two cornerbacks capable of covering No. 1 wideouts in Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore. This is easily the best starting duo they've had in recent memory.
DaRon Bland comes in behind them as the slot corner and he had five picks to lead the team in 2022. He's ahead of Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright, who were higher draft picks but come in on shorter leashes.
With Jourdan Lewis still not at 100 percent, the Cowboys go into the season with him on the PUP which might be the only thing allowing both Joseph and Wright to make it to Week 1.
One surprise cut here is Eric Scott, Jr. who Dallas traded up for this spring. Scott is a player they truly liked in the draft, but he's been struggling in the preseason and the depth is too much for him to survive.