3 rumored Cowboys defensive coordinator candidates ranked from worst to best

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2. Brandon Staley

Brandon Staley is an easy punchline around the league given how his Chargers tenure ended, but make no mistake: he's a smart defensive mind. The question is how his scheme would fit the Cowboys' personnel, especially since Dallas is thin at linebacker.

It's a notable departure from Quinn's scheme, so there will be initial growing pains. There's also concerns about how he'd use the Cowboys safeties, which were indispensable for most of Quinn's time as DC.

Jayron Kearse is likely to leave in free agency. As a classic ball-hawking free safety, Malik Hooker would be fine, but Donovan Wilson? Despite an All-Pro nod and three Pro Bowls, Derwin James was wildly inconsitent under Staley. Chargers fans will be the first to tell you James is "overrated," which can be attributed to his baffling usage in Staley's system.

Beyond that is the fact LA couldn't stop the run under Staley. When you combine the last three seasons, the Chargers D ranked 30th in EPA per rush and last in rushing success rate. They were also a poor tackling team under Staley. Again, though, LA's personnel pales in comparison to that of the Cowboys as far as talent.

Staley is far from a perfect candidate, but he's a strong X's and O's coach and the different look he'd bring relative to Quinn's scheme is exciting.