DeMarcus Lawrence, Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch have all performed at Pro Bowl/All-Pro levels in recent history for the Dallas Cowboys defense. That covers the front seven, but the success hasn’t been as good in the secondary.
The unit took a huge blow in free agency losing starters Byron Jones and Jeff Heath, making the priority of revamping the secondary even more paramount before the 2020 season kicks off. They started by going back into the free-agent market and added veteran Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who played under new Head Coach Mike McCarthy for five seasons in Green Bay. Also, they brought in cornerback Maurice Canady who spent 2019 with the New York Jets as a nice depth piece.
In the NFL Draft, the Cowboys came in like a thief in the night and stole ball-hawking cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson in the second and fourth rounds. Days later, the Cowboys got more depth when they signed veteran cornerback Darly Worley who spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Now, factoring in these additions plus Xavier Woods, Jourdan Lewis, Anthony Brown, Donovan Wilson, and Darian Thompson the Cowboys are a lot better off in the secondary than they’ve been in a while from a talent standpoint. However, there is something else that could make them even more effective, their retooled defensive front.
Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe were signed in free agency to be the anchors on the interior. To kick off April, they signed Defensive End Aldon Smith on a one-year deal, who just recently got conditionally reinstated after a five-year absence and is looking to rejuvenate his career after battling personal issues.
The Cowboys hit the interior in the draft by selecting Neville Gallimore out of Oklahoma in the third round and added edge help with two-time PAC-12 All-American Bradlee Anae in the fifth round out of Utah.
With the league no longer suspending players for positive marijuana tests under the new CBA, Randy Gregory has a great chance of getting reinstated to be another rusher off the edge to complement DeMarcus Lawrence. Also, you certainly can’t forget Tyrone Crawford, Trysten Hill, and Antwaun Woods who provide even more strength to the unit.
As we all know, the more effective your pass rush is the less time a quarterback will have to throw which means your secondary won’t have to cover as long. The Cowboys have the bodies on the defensive line to really be productive collectively, and if they’re successful, we could see the most effective Cowboys secondary in a long time.