Slot defender rankings show Cowboys have one of NFL's elite secondaries

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse (27) breaks up a pass
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse (27) breaks up a pass / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It's difficult to pinpoint the biggest strength on the Dallas Cowboys roster.

Most fans would point to the defensive line given the team's surplus of edge rushers and now-respectable interior rotation led by Osa Odighizuwa, Johnathan Hankins and 2023 first round draft choice Mazi Smith.

The wide receiver room is another popular shout following the trade for Brandin Cooks, as the Cowboys now have two WRs with Pro Bowl potential. Not to mention, Michael Gallup has eclipsed 1,000 yards before in his career.

The starting offensive line is as talented as any unit in the league, but the depth behind them eliminates them from consideration.

That brings us to the secondary, which would give the defensive line a genuine run for its money in this made-up competition. Going strictly off Touchdown Wire's Doug Farrar's slot defender rankings, though, it's virtually impossible for Dallas' secondary not to take the cake here.

Cowboys overwhelm Touchdown Wire's slot defender rankings

In a testament to Dan Quinn's exotic defensive scheme, the Cowboys had not one, but two different players make the top 11.

2022 fifth-round pick DaRon Bland checked in at No. 7, whom Farrar believes is in the perfect defense for his skillset. Per Farrar, Bland allowed just 398 yards on 44 catches to go with four interceptions (five total on the year), two pass breakups and a 81.0 passer rating, which was the third-best among slot defenders who logged at least 200 coverage snaps.

Bland did allow four touchdowns, but that can be attributed to a rookie going through the growing pains of learning to defend in the red zone.

Bland technically served as an injury replacement for Jourdan Lewis, who made the No. 3 spot in Farrar's slot defender rankings last year.

Checking in at No. 2 on the rankings was none other than Jayron Kearse, otherwise known as the tight end stopper. The 29-year-old warrior was responsible for just 18 catches for 170 yards, while allowing zero touchdowns, grabbing two interceptions and allowing a QB passer rating of 61.2.

While Kearse is a nightmare in coverage in the nickel, he's simply to good and versatile to be restricted to one role. According to Pro Football Focus, Kearse played 308 snaps in the box last season, 180 as a free safety, 183 in the slot, 113 as an extra defensive lineman and 31 as an outside corner.

He's one of multiple jack-of-all-trades in Quinn's defense and Cowboys fans might see a better version of him in 2023 now that he as a clean bill of health.

Regardless, these rankings just show that Dallas' secondary is as good as any in football. And to think we didn't even mentionTrevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker.

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