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    Dallas Cowboys Position Groups to Watch During OTAs

    With the set to begin their Training Activities (), there are still some questions to answer about a team trying to improve on a 9-7 record from 2017. There has been a lot of noise this from related to the Cowboys transaction wire, but during the draft is where you saw your favorite team make the most dramatic improvement.

    As we get ready for OTAs, let's look at the most intriguing position groups to watch during the preseason for the Dallas Cowboys.

    Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense?
    Dallas Cowboys CB , CB , S (AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

    Defensive Backs

    With the addition of and immediate move of Byron Jones to , this defensive backfield is the group of players I'm most excited to see this season. Richard brings an energy that is contagious. If you watched the draft via DallasCowboys.com's The Draft Show, you got to see the excitement Kris Richard brings to the room.

    Everyone from to Byron Jones has raved about Richard as a coach and person, but the thing that's exciting to me is the style that Richard is bringing from his days in Seattle.

    Bringing an aggressive and in-your-face style to the coverage unit, Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis are going to be unleashed on NFL wide receivers. Those three bring some fight and to their game that will leave Cowboys Nation thoroughly satisfied. 

    No longer will we be screaming at our televisions because the corners are playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 5. 

    The players on the team have heard the message from Rod Marinelli about creating turnovers. Now they have a asking them to be aggressive even before the football is snapped. Not allowing wide receivers much room will allow the corners to make more plays on the football. 

    I believe this is the year we see the Dallas Cowboys take a step forward in the interception department. The DB group may not have the skins on the wall that the “Legion of Boom” does, but they have the potential to be that good. 

    Linebackers

    This group brings a lot of intrigue with , Jaylon Smith, and .

    For two years we've been following along as Jaylon Smith has been recovering from the devastating knee injury he suffered in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. After an up and down 2017, where he still required the use of a brace for foot drop, Jaylon has been working out this offseason without the brace. Word is he's continuing to progress in the health of his knee and the feeling in his foot. 

    Watch: Jaylon Smith working out without his brace.

    All good things for the most optimistic NFL player ever. 

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    Getting another year of Sean Lee should have Cowboys fans optimistic as well, though we're never sure what we're gonna get from the former All-Pro. The only thing that has ever held Sean Lee back is his ability to stay on the field. Hopefully this year The General gets a little bit of injury good luck on his side.

    The Dallas Cowboys were 2-1 before losing back to back games in which the scored 30 points against the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packers. Had they split those two games, the team is probably 6-2 at the midway point. Even with a similar record in the second half, that puts them at 10-6 on the season and probably in the .

    Sean Lee is a huge difference maker on this and they've potentially found some insurance if Lee isn't able to play 16 games in 2018 with their pick, Leighton Vander Esch. 

    Vander Esch out of Boise State University, may not be the most physical player in this year's rookie class, but if you watch some of his work in college, the thing that's evident is the kid has a knack for coverage. 

    You never know what a rookie is going to bring to the table until you see them with the pads on and in real games, but LVE certainly has the ability to be a difference maker. Coverage is as much about instincts and athletic ability as it is about technique and preparation, and Vander Esch has the instincts and athletic ability covered.

    I'd bet that he and Jaylon rotate snaps at MLB with LVE being the second linebacker on passing downs next to Lee. We may see them line up in more 3-3-5 formations during passing situations. This is where they go with three , three linebackers, and five defensive backs. A formation like this allows them to mix up who the fourth rusher is and where they are coming from.

    Lee, Smith, and Vander Esch all have proven rushing ability that could make for some fun packages deployed by Rod Marinelli.

    Now with better depth at each level of the defense, the personnel combinations are endless. However they deploy this trio is going to create problems for opposing defenses. 

    Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft
    Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

    Wide Receivers

    Coke Beasley, and Allen Hurns are the only wide receivers with skins on the wall on the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver depth chart. Aside from Hurns' 1,000-yard season in 2016 and Beasley's Cowboys-leading 2016, the skins are pretty thin. 

    Now, considering Terrance Williams' recent run in with the law, his status with the team could be in jeopardy depending on what the NFL decides to do. They could suspend him under the personal conduct policy which would allow Dallas some cap relief if they were to release him.

    If he isn't suspended, he'll be with the team as it will cost the Dallas Cowboys money to cut him. Inside The Star Staff Writer Jess Haynie took a detailed look at Terrance Williams' contract status with the team.

    With Michael Gallup's selection at pick 81 in this year's draft, the Dallas Cowboys have begun overhauling their wide receiver group. Gallup has a chance to assert himself early and carve out a role as soon as week one, especially if Williams is suspended and/or released. 

    They don't have or to lean on — it's arguable if they could lean on them last year — and will be deploying players who have a knack for getting open.  

    Seeing how the staff deploys the wide receivers during OTAs will give us a hint at what the week one starting lineup looks like.

    This doesn't even begin to touch on the addition of , whose philosophy is for guys to get open if they want the ball. Imagine every wide receiver on the roster being able to get open with Cole Beasley's type of efficiency…

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    There are still some questions to be answered, like tight end, the defensive deployment, or — for pure entertainment purposes — the with second-round pick inserted in the lineup. There are several intriguing position groups to watch during the preseason, but these are the positions I'm most interested in following during OTAs and .

    What will you be watching for?

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    John Williams
    John Williamshttps://anchor.fm/inside-the-cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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    4 COMMENTS

    4 Comments
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    MavsFan

    Coke Bradley huh, already following the Michael Irvin path….? Lol

    John Williams

    AHHHHHHHH Dang It.

    Ethan Chazin

    Big fat cliche but NFL gams and championships are won with a QB and the lines/trenches. I’m excited to see Dak with Zeke and that O line with a hopefully improved left guard with depth at guard and swing tackle just in case. I’m NERVOUS about the interior of the D line, but excited to see if charlton can step up in year 2, gregory gets reinstated, irving with a full year and tank motivated to go to the bank with a 2nd contract. Also excited to see the Kansas kid dorance. Might be a huuuuge year for Dallas. or not…

    John Williams

    Absolutely agree. I can’t wait to see Connor Williams line up between Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick.


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