It’s funny to think about the reception Cowboys Nation gave Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch when his name was announced as the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft just a little over a year ago. Those “Boo Birds” are certainly singing a different tune today and should get even louder in 2019 once they see an upgraded version of LVE suit up this year.
If you’re looking for a reason to get excited about the Dallas Cowboys this year, thinking about a much improved Leighton Vander Esch should get you through these next few months. I really believe we are going to see an entirely different player, for the better, take the field in 2019. I think he is going to absolutely dominate because of these three simple reasons I’ve listed below.
Let’s take a look…
Bigger, Stronger, Faster
It’s a little scary to think a 6’4″, 256 pound guy who runs a 4.65 40-yard dash can get even bigger stronger, and faster, but that’s what exactly what I’m predicting for Dallas Cowboys second-year Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. After an entire year and a full offseason in the Cowboys strength and conditioning program, LVE should be even better in 2019 and that’s a little scary (in a good way) to think about considering how dominant he was as a rookie. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what an upgraded LVE looks like when the pads come on.
More Confidence and Experience
Leighton Vander Esch joined the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 as a mildly confident and pretty inexperienced linebacker prospect out of Boise State. He really only had one year of starting experience during his time with the Broncos and that comes after playing eight-man football in high school in Idaho. But after a year under his belt playing against some of the most athletically gifted human beings that play in the NFL, LVE’s confidence should be on a high. He finished his rookie season with 140 tackles, seven pass breakups, and two interceptions in what turned out to be a Pro Bowl year for him. There’s no reason to expect he shouldn’t build off of that impressive performance in the Year 2.
Where’s the Beef?
If you really want to be excited about how good Leighton Vander Esch will be in 2019, look no further than what the Dallas Cowboys did to upgrade “The Beef” in front of him along the defensive line. No offense to Antwaun Woods or Maliek Collins, but Christian Covington and Trysten Hill will help upgrade the Cowboys DL and in turn help keep LVE clean to roam the field and make plays from sideline to sideline. The WILL LB position in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme is supposed to have the ability to play in space, but that wasn’t always the case because of their neglect to upgrade the DL in years past. That’s no longer the case, which should make Vander Esch become a more dominant force this season.