Dallas Cowboys: 3 possible surprise starters in 2021

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Surprise Dallas Cowboys Starters

Starting 3-tech DT: Osa Odighizuwa

Most are expecting second year pro Neville Gallimore to claim that starting 3-tech spot next to Brent Urban. Some are even thinking the Dallas Cowboys top pick from 2019, Trysten Hill, could push for the job. But the guy who could surprise the most in training camp is Osa Odighizuwa.

Odighizuwa was Dallas’ first of three third round picks in the 2021 Draft. The defensive lineman from UCLA comes to the Cowboys as a bit of Swiss army knife. Able to play both DE and DT, he’s essentially Tyrone Crawford 2.0.

Crawford faced his share of criticism in his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys, but the versatile D-lineman was consistently Dallas’ second-best lineman and he was a vital piece to the defense over the past decade. Odighizuwa could be that and more.

Currently, Odighizuwa is playing primarily at 3-tech. That bodes well for his chances at becoming a starter. With DE firmly secured by Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence, 3-tech is the most attainable starting spot.

Fans are optimistic about Neville Gallimore but he didn’t exactly secure the bag his rookie season. Bouncing between 1-tech and 3-tech, Gallimore had an up and down 2020 season and only rated 102nd out of 126 DTs by PFF last year. Still, PFF graded him as a much better 3-tech than 1-tech, so it all depends where the coaches want to put him.

Rookies rarely start at DT but Osa Odighizuwa has the size and ability to push Dallas’ other DTs early. It stands to reason, the Dallas Cowboys controversial third round pick has a chance to surprise and even claim a starting spot early in 2021.