Dallas Cowboys LB competition: The ultimate ‘Battle of Training Camp’

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys LB: Keanu Neal

Dan Quinn is already on record calling Keanu Neal his starting WILL (WLB) this season. The former first round safety wore two hats in Atlanta, rotating between safety and linebacker for Quinn last year. But Neal was sold on WILL as a fulltime role here and Dallas and signed on accordingly. It’s likely he’ll rival Parsons for most snaps of the unit in 2021.

Some have the impression that as a former safety, Neal will play more passing downs and let a more traditional LB play the running downs. And that may ultimately come to fruition. But Neal is not the prototypical converted DB. He’s a hitter and always has been. When Neal tackles you, you stay tackled.

That’s why It would be diffident to pigeonhole him quite so soon. Neal is a Quinn guy who was signed to a big contract this offseason for a reason (their biggest outside free agent signing):  He expects to play a lot and build value as a traditional NFL LB.

Dallas Cowboys LB: Jabril Cox

The last “new face” we have in this mix is rookie linebacker, Jabril Cox. Cox, arguably Dallas’ most celebrated pick this year, was a relative steal on Day 3. As one of the best coverage linebacker prospects we’ve seen in years, Cox has a bright future in the pass-heavy NFL.

For as good as Jabril Cox is in coverage, he’s a liability as a pure tackler. If anyone on this team gets the “red shirt” treatment it’s likely to be Cox. At 6-foot-3, 232lbs, he could stand to gain muscle mass which would inevitably help him with some of his tackling issues.

Even still, if Cox is as good in coverage as we expect, the Dallas Cowboys will find a way to get him on the field.