Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft: Massive Defensive Reload

Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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Shaquille Quarterman #55 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Round 5, Pick 164

LB, Shaquille Quarterman


On paper, linebacker isn’t a pressing need on the Dallas Cowboys. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have the two primary spots locked down and Sean Lee offers veteran support. Even the depth guys all re-signed this year making the LB unit one of Dallas best. On paper.

Leighton Vander Esch is the real wildcard here. Bewteen 2018 and 2019 he went from downright dominant to completely abysmal before succumbing to a very concerning neck injury (is there such a thing as a nonconcerning neck injury?) Which LVE shows up in 2020 is anyone’s guess. Same can be said for his health.

Jaylon likewise got off to a pretty bad start (not as bad, but still bad). He recovered as the season went on and actually finished pretty well. But it became clear, for Jaylon to operate at peak levels, he needs good DT play in front of him and possibly a little load-management to keep the mileage off him.

That’s why Shaquille Quarterman makes some sense here. Shaq isn’t the every down LB Jaylon and LVE are. He’s a run-stopper in the purest sense. He hits like a ton of bricks and thrives in tight spaces. The former 4-star recruit is 6-foot-1, 241lbs. He’s extremely smart and able to lead a defense.

Quarterman is a beast running downfield and attacking, but sort of a liability dropping back in coverage. The more the play the stretches, the less effective he is as well. But Quarterman can shed blocks and make plays with ease between the tackles.

On the Dallas Cowboys, he can be a SAM or MIKE on early downs and/or in running situations. He can spell Jaylon at MIKE and play SAM if Dallas needs Lee to help LVE at WILL. He’s another smart mind in the mix and  an instant contributor in the NFL.