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How Much Should LB Jabril Cox Factor Into Cowboys Offseason Decisions?

The Cowboys could be busy this at . Several key players are about to become , but one guy you may have forgotten about is 2021 rookie . How much should the second-year LB factor in Dallas' decisions?

Cox didn't get much in his rookie season; only nine total snaps from Weeks 1-8. He then suffered a torn ACL against the Vikings and was lost for the remainder of the year.

But between his strong play and a TD-saving stop on Giants' QB during Dallas' Week 5 victory over New York, Jabril flashed his future potential. He validated the consensus that he was a big steal for the Cowboys as a 4th-Round pick in the .

Athletic and rangy, Cox could be seen as an ideal compliment to likely Rookie of the Year . But now with a major to come back from and little experience from his first season, Jabril may not be trustworthy enough to be a focal point of Dallas' offseason.

It would be nice if the Cowboys could lean on Cox as a major piece for next season. and are both unrestricted free agents, is restricted, and is an exclusive rights, .

Even assuming Gifford and Bernard return, that would leave Dallas with just those developmental projects, Parsons, and Cox as their linebacker corps for 2022. They would obviously have more work to do to field a fully group for the season.

Dallas' trust in Jabril will be a big factor in how much they try to retain Neal and Vander Esch, if at all. Both had good moments last season but neither was consistently impactful in large roles.

Micah Parsons' wingman doesn't have to be as good as he is. After all, talents like Parsons don't come around often. But the Cowboys need another linebacker who can hold his own in coverage when Micah is used to rush the passer, or when defenses are just keeping the ball as far away from Dallas' new superstar as possible.

Parsons isn't the only 2021 rookie that Dallas will be counting on next year. We can expect CB , DT , and DE to be major rotation pieces. It will also be interesting to see how much responsibility OT and WR get given issues at thier positions.

While Cox has already given us more to be excited about than some of those other rookies, it is probably still not enough for the Cowboys to trust him with a major role in 2022.

I think this probably leads to one of Neal or Vander Esch getting a short-term deal to return to Dallas. Keanu was playing his first season as a LB after converting from and Leighton was in his first year in 's . It's reasonable to think either could be better in 2022.

Hopefully, regardless of the Cowboys' other moves, Jabril Cox will still be ready to go next year and keeps building on his exciting potential. But given how little of him we saw as a rookie, Dallas will need to make some other moves to be ready for the season.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Terry D Jones

I would treat it as if he wasn’t there we have to many holes to fill there and we don’t know what we have yet and hes coming off an injury whatever we get will be a bonus

Marvin Anderson

Fixed your offensive line and used the idea of the analytics consultants in the article to give your team a leg up on the competition.


I liked what I saw from him in preseason and his limited regular season. Too bad he got hurt, and we couldn’t see more last year, but going forward I think he has what it takes to start. MP, LVE, JC nice trio.


Call those rotten Cardinals and trade Cox for their #257 draft pick… we could take an OT at #257.


They’re going to have to draft at least one LB, preferably in the upper rounds. I keep seeing Nakobe Dean mocked to us, but I doubt he lasts that long. Besides, using a 1st on a LB two years in a row would be difficult to justify. Parsons at least can pass rush, which made his being drafted in the 1st much more palatable.

Brandon Smith, Penn State in the 3rd would be ideal:

As far a Keanu Neal goes, he really didn’t impress, so I doubt he gets any big offers. With Dan Quinn coming back, he may be willing to sign a reasonable deal to come back as well.

In addition to tendering Gifford and Bernard, I’d like to see them bulk up and convert Tyler Coyle to LB like they did with Neal. He’s the same height and only 2lbs lighter (209) than Neal. Get him in the weight room this off season and get him up to ~215. He’s a lot more athletic than Neal. He ran a 4.36 40 (vs 4.62), 39″ vert (38″), 24 bench reps (17), 4.02 short shuttle (4.38) and 7.14 3-cone (7.09).

I don’t think he has much of a future at Safety with Donovan Wilson and Mukuamu ahead of him at SS. Converting him to LB might be the best bet to get that athleticism on the field to cover TE’s, RB’s and maybe even slot receivers.

S Leonard

Need to fill up on linebackers. The drop off from Parsons and Cox is exponential. Gifford, I felt, should have replaced LVE. I think draft status, is the only reason that didn’t happen. If you take away Parson pass rushing, this group underperformed. If Parsons gets hurt, we need some bodies that can fill in. MM has a weak linebackers coach(Scott McCurley), which they are trying to bandaid with George Edwards helping out.

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