3. Damone Clark, LB
Clark was considered one of the steals in the 2022 NFL Draft when the LSU standout fell into Dallas' lap. The injury concerns had lowered his stock and the Cowboys lucked into one of the best linebackers in the draft.
After his promising season, he was considered to be a long-term solution on the defensive line. And he has been fine. He played in every game in 2023 and 73% of the snaps. He recorded 109 tackles (70 solo), while adding three passes defended and a fumble recovery in 17 games.
With Leighton Vander Esch coming off an injury and a likely cut candidate, Clark will likely be the every-down starter from Week 1 next season. However, it's not clear whether he has shown enough in his second year to justify that role. In fact, he was only the 56th-ranked linebacker on PFF.
Converted safety Markquese Bell deserves significantly more of the praise for the job he has done. With the injuries to the defensive line, there was hope that Clark would take a step forward but that hasn't come. His lack of development made the middle of the Cowboys' defense vulnerable despite having promising stats for a second-year player.