With the Dallas Cowboys training camp about to get under way, the starting defense could look predictable at some positions, and different in others.
With the Dallas Cowboys about to start training camp, the defensive starters will be something most people will watch with anticipation. A new coaching staff with a new scheme will likely change some things up and allow players to play to different strengths. That makes predicting what the starting group will look like difficult, but interesting.
Keep in mind this is for training camp and perhaps the first game, but could change by the end of the season. This is just how I see the Cowboys starting defense through training camp. Injuries, COVID, etc, can all change things quickly.
What we do know is that the starting linebackers are pretty much set baring any health issues. Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch are pretty well entrenched. The depth behind them is probably up for debate. Justin March and Joe Thomas are probably your two depth guys, but I don’t see either of them pushing the top three.
Defensive line is fairly predictable as well if we are looking at it genuinely. The front four will probably start off with Demarcus Lawrence, Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy, and Tyrone Crawford. If Randy Gregory is reinstated and Aldon Smith looks remotely like he did before he left football, then one of the two of them could push Crawford by the end of camp. The Cowboys have some decent depth if everyone is reinstated and healthy, then include the rookies should be okay.
The safeties are pretty predictable right away as well. Xavier Woods and HaHa Clinton-Dix are your two starting safeties right away. They could give some playing time to Donovan Wilson, Darian Thompson and Luther Kirk, but Woods and HaHa should be your best two safeties of the group. They could add someone who gets cut or try to move someone to safety, but for now, those are the two best on the roster.
Where things get tricky is at corner. We all know Chidobe Awuzie is one of your two starting outside corners. I think they will try Anthony Brown and Trevon Diggs on the opposite side of the field to start. That means Jourdan Lewis will be the fourth corner. The sleeper of the group will be Daryl Worley and could step in on the outside should Brown and Diggs not be the guy. If Diggs or Worley beat out Brown, then Brown will move to nickle corner and push Lewis to fifth corner.
Reggie Robinson will most likely back-up Awuzie with Canady now out for the season. This leaves corner perhaps the biggest question heading into training camp. I think this could make the Cowboys go deeper at corner than some other positions. Scheme will play a huge role to figuring out what the end results will be.
There are some questions on the Cowboys defensive side of the ball, probably a lot more than on the offensive side. If another player decides to sit out for COVID or injuries pile up then things could change very quickly. We have some idea of what the Cowboys will do, Nolan’s scheme also helps shape some of the prediction as he traditionally likes man coverage on the outside. Now we wait, and see what happens.