The unit has a quality starter and elite talent. Typically the guy in the middle is the leader of the defense or the one that calls the shots. In this case, it is Leighton Vander Esch.
A season ago, Vander Esch finished with 90 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble. However, it’s the impact that he makes. He missed the final three games last season, and the run defense was not the same. Overall, the defense does not operate the same without him.
The Cowboys hope to see better production from guys like Damone Clark and Jabrill Cox. Third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown is athletic, can make plays off the edge and be used in coverage. However, he will need to add more strength.
Overall, what makes this position so high on the list is arguably the best defensive player in football in Micah Parsons. There have been different opinions regarding his position, but defensive coordinator Dan Quinn clarified it to reporters earlier this month that "He's a pass-rushing linebacker."
Parsons has been one of the most disruptive players since he began his career in 2021. The third-year pro is coming off a terrific 2022 campaign in which he racked up 14 sacks, 61 hurries, and 90 total pressures, per PFF.
No matter where you line him up and how he is used, No. 11 is a nightmare and is, without a doubt, the best player on this defense.