The easiest way to control a football game is to dominate in the trenches. The Dallas Cowboys offensive line has had that philosophy for quite a while as they’ve built a reputation as one of the league’s best units thanks to veterans Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, and recently retired Travis Frederick.
However, on the defensive side, the Cowboys are adopting that same mentality heading into the 2020 season. With the additions of Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe in free agency, and a third-round selection on Neville Gallimore out of Oklahoma, the interior of the Cowboys defensive line is set up to cause havoc very quickly.
McCoy was the first domino to fall when he signed a three-year deal worth 18.3 million (nine million guaranteed) back in March. He spent last season with the Carolina Panthers after eight years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over his 10-year career, he has 59.5 sacks (at least five in each of the last eight seasons). Also, he’s been to six Pro Bowls and been named an All-Pro five times. He can rush from either the 3-technique (right of center) or the edge which not only makes him part of the solution of losing Robert Quinn but an upgrade on the interior after losing Maliek Collins to free agency.
A week after inking McCoy, the Cowboys made the interior of their defensive line even stronger by adding veteran Dontari Poe, a massive 350-pound anchor at the 1-technique (left of center). Poe is a former first-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. He spent five years with the defending Super Bowl champs and made two consecutive Pro Bowls (2013, 2014) and received a Second-Team All-Pro nod (2013). After a year with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, Poe has spent the last two seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He’s played in 121 out of a possible 128 games in his career (118 starts). Not only can he be a force in a 4-3 set but he can also take snaps as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.
Now with two new valuable pieces on the interior of the defensive line, the Cowboys didn’t need to spend a draft pick on one early in last week’s NFL Draft, but day two saw them add more firepower. In the third round, they selected Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore, a raw but ultra-talented defensive tackle with tremendous upside. Gallimore’s ties to the Cowboys started even before he was drafted. He spent time training at the Baylor Scott and White Performance Center at The Star just ahead of the NFL Draft. Also, the Cowboys had several meetings with Gallimore at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. This began Gallimore’s thought process of actually playing for America’s Team, as he explained after being drafted.
“It definitely crossed my mind,” Gallimore said. “I definitely love the Dallas-Frisco area. I was telling my friends that, in the future, I would love to someday live out here.”
Gallimore has an explosive first step and uses his low center of gravity to push through and be disruptive. He has a non-stop motor and is excellent at running down ball carriers from behind. He had four sacks and 32 quarterback pressures for the Sooners in 2019, both career highs. Gallimore forced four fumbles over his last two collegiate seasons with is something the Cowboys defense has lacked for some time. He’s extremely athletic as well as evident by his 4.79 in the 40-yard dash. The most intriguing part of his game is his versatility as he has the ability to play the 1-technique or 3-technique, making him an ideal fit for a formidable rotation with the aforementioned McCoy and Poe.
It all starts in the trenches and the Cowboys are set to be a serious force in that aspect defensively with this massive overhaul on the interior. McCoy, Poe, and Gallimore will be vital for the Cowboys defensive unit to be successful in 2020.