Dallas Cowboys: Why it’s possible they become a top-10 defense

Jaylon smith Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Jaylon smith Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

After fielding their worst defensive unit in franchise history, the Dallas Cowboys went all in on fixing the defense in free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft. The Cowboys used nearly all their draft picks on defensive players creating competition and churning the roster.

The Cowboys were so traumatized by their awful defense from a year ago that they bypassed on promising offensive players in order to bolster their weakest link: the D.

Since the Cowboys drafted so many elite players to go with their few defensive stalwarts already on the roster, could this defense become a top-10 defense like the one from 2018? Or what about a top-15 defense like the one in 2019?

Why it’s possible the Dallas Cowboys become a top-10 defense in 2021

I know you all are laughing at me and wondering if I lost my senses, but the reality is this defense has the ability to return to its top-10 form. Yep, they do, and I will explain it in the simplest way possible.

Firstly, most of the veterans that played on the dismal defense from a season ago played on the good ones from 2018-2019, and Dallas returns most of them except for a few players who won’t be missed, like Xavier Woods.

The key players are edge rushers Demarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, followed by promising interior players like Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore. Then there is Trevon Diggs leading the secondary with Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Donovan Wilson, and potentially Damontae Kazee. I didn’t mention linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch on purpose because…

Secondly, the main reason Dallas’ defense was putrid is because it  flipped between a 3-4 scheme and a 4-3 scheme that didn’t suit their personnel. With no formal OTA’s (organized training activities) and full training camp because of the Covid-19 virus, Dallas’ defense was doomed to fail, regardless if they had Dak Prescott under center or not.

Because of that dreadful and misguided switch to a 4-3 scheme, the group that suffered the most and more out of place were linebackers Smith and LVE. If there is no massive defensive tackle (s) to offset the mammoth offensive linemen, then the linebackers are nothing more than sitting ducks ready to be road kill. To make matters worse, LVE suffered an injury and that left Smith out there lost like a toddler at the state fair.

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Further, Smith is a downhill baller and that’s where he plays his best. Trust me, I’m aware of his weaknesses when it comes to coverage, but you’re not going to tell me that Smith all of sudden forgot how to play like the Pro Bowler we witnessed in 2018 when he knocked Saints running back Alvin Kamara out of the game.

My Gawd! I thought I was watching the Animal Kingdom when cheetah runs down a gazelle!

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Smith still has the instincts, the speed, and can tackle. What Smith needs is the right scheme to flourish in and to have a healthy LVE beside him, and if he’s healthy….

Thirdly, that means that the incoming class of defensive talent like linebackers Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox will not only give Dallas’ linebacking unit depth, but talented players who might get plenty of playing time. Can you imagine a scenario where Smith, LVE, Parsons, Cox, and possibly Keanu Neal all playing at a high level?

That’s scary!

And if the interior lineman of Hill, Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa, and Brent Urban can play above average, then the Dallas Cowboys defense can at least a middle of the pack defense, which will be good enough to go with their high powered offense.

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Next. Are there too many linebackers on the roster?. dark

After that, it trickles down to the secondary, and hopefully, the secondary can pick up from it left off from last season with creating turnovers. If that happens, who knows how far this team can go. And that’s being as realistic as possible without losing my senses and drinking a bottle of gin.