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Cowboys defensive line a piece away from Doomsday Defense II

There is no argument. The defensive side of the ball was the best unit for the in 2022. Retaining Dan Quinn was the best thing that could have happened for this unit and for the team overall.

That being said, there are some holes that will need to be filled. Starting with the middle of the , which got exposed as the season drew to a close. Fix this weak spot and we could be talking II.


The Cowboys defense struggled in the second half of the season in stopping the run. This problem was magnified when missed games at the end of the year.

Dallas will likely let go in , unless they can get him back on a very team-friendly contract. At least this is what I think they are thinking, and I was right about getting the franchise tag.

But this is the Jones gang we're talking about, so who really knows, right? But let us assume Hankins does not come back. This would leave the team with three tackles: Quinton Bohanna, , and .

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Gallimore would then become the elder statesman of the defensive group as he enters his fourth year. Both Bohanna and Odighizuwa will each be playing their third NFL seasons in 2023. So the potential is there for improvement.

There is also the potential for continued growing pains if not regression. That being the case, going into the year with three tackles may not be a great idea.

What the Cowboys need is a monster in the middle who commands the attention of the opposing center and possibly both guards. Think the second coming of or . Haloti Ngata or Warren Sapp for you younger kids.


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Whoever it turns out to be they need to find him and get him on the line. This would free up the strength of the defensive line to wreak havoc: The outside pass-rushing ends.


Both Micah Parsons and are signed for the next two seasons so neither are going anywhere. Which is great news for Dallas as both terrorize opposing quarterbacks. Especially when the running game has been contained.

But they need backups who can get the job done when they take a blow on the sideline. Assuming his legal issues don't become a major situation, showed flashes of being a serviceable backup. also looked good at times.

Oct 23, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Sam Williams (54) runs with the ball after recovering a fumble in the fourth quarter against the at . Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman- Sports

Dallas has two players at defensive end that are Jr. and . Fowler is a year younger and has with Quinn. Don't be surprised to see Fowler back but not Watkins.

Watkins was cut from the team last year and re-signed after fifth-round draft pick Matt Waletzko was placed on . If the Cowboys need to make cuts, Watkins might be an early casualty.   


Honestly, there isn't much to fix, aside from shoring up the interior against the run. How Dallas goes about it remains to be seen.

While I don't have an office at , if the task is to sign a defensive tackle I do have a humble suggestion. Zach Allen, a this year who played next to for the .

He had to have absorbed a lot from playing next to a future Hall of Famer. That experience could be very valuable on the Cowboys defensive line in 2023.

I make this move in a heartbeat, but I'm not the general manager at The Star. It remains to be seen if the will. Assuming they are even looking at free agency for an interior at all.

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

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