Heading into coaching camp, what’s the state of affairs with the Dallas Cowboys’ depth chart in 2021? Which gamers have their beginning spots seemingly beneath wraps, and which positions may we see competitors for? Let’s have a look at what seems to be one of many extra settled depth charts within the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart
Who’s at the moment set to start out for the Cowboys, and what does their depth appear to be at key positions?
Quarterback: Dak Prescott, Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush, Ben DiNucci
Working Again: Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Rico Dowdle, Sewo Olonilua
Huge Receiver: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, Simi Fehoko, Noah Brown, Malik Turner, Johnnie Dixon, Aaron Parker, Brennan Eagles, Osirus Mitchell, Brandon Smith
Tight Finish: Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz, Jeremy Sprinkle, Sean McKeon
Offensive Sort out: Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, Ty Nsekhe, Josh Ball, Brandon Knight, Terence Steele
Offensive Guard: Zack Martin, Connor Williams, Connor McGovern, Matt Farniok
Middle: Tyler Biadasz
Inside Defensive Line: Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, Osa Odighizuwa, Justin Hamilton, Carlos Watkins, Quinton Bohanna
Defensive Finish: DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Tarell Basham, Dorance Armstrong, Chauncey Golston, Bradlee Anae
Linebacker: Micah Parsons, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Keanu Neal, Jabril Cox, Francis Bernard, Luke Gifford, Azur Kamara
Cornerback: Trevon Diggs, Kelvin Joseph, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Nahshon Wright, Maurice Canady, Reggie Robinson II, C.J. Goodwin
Security: Donovan Wilson, Damontae Kazee, Jayron Kearse, Darian Thompson, Israel Mukuamu
Kicker: Greg Zuerlein
Punter: Bryan Anger, Hunter Niswander
Lengthy Snapper: Jake McQuaide
Cowboys Depth Chart Evaluation | Offense
Let’s break down the Cowboys’ depth chart on the offensive aspect of the ball.
Even earlier than Dak Prescott and the Cowboys agreed to a four-year contract price $160 million, he was all the time anticipated to be their starter in 2021. Prescott accomplished simply 4 video games in 2020 however was on tempo to throw for over 6,000 yards previous to his ankle harm. Assuming the ankle healed nicely, he ought to have one other robust season for the Cowboys.
The competitors behind Prescott has loads of intrigue. Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci each began one recreation for the Cowboys in 2020. Neither did something to face out as a transparent backup, however they didn’t have disastrous performances, both.
Cooper Rush noticed a complete of 26 snaps for the Cowboys between 2017 and 2019. He spent the final two months of the 2020 season on the Cowboys’ apply squad. With restricted expertise on this group, the Cowboys may add a veteran backup if one turned accessible in the course of the preseason.
The 2020 season was the hardest of Ezekiel Elliott’s profession. His rush yards per recreation and general yards per recreation had been down considerably in comparison with the primary 5 years of his profession. An enormous a part of the explanation was a major discount in makes an attempt per recreation at 16.3, in comparison with greater than 18.5 in every of the earlier years. Elliott ought to realistically be the starter all season, however the emergence of Tony Pollard ought to imply he isn’t the bell cow he was early in his profession.
Pollard has had two stable seasons for the Cowboys since being drafted. On 187 carries, he has 890 speeding yards and 6 touchdowns. He has additionally confirmed to be an asset out of the backfield, making him a very good foil to Elliott.
Pollard has not performed sufficient to interchange Elliott because the starter, however he may very well be in line for 100-150 touches once more this season. If Elliott had been to get damage, there’s little on this roster to stop Pollard from taking on the beginning function. Neither Rico Dowdle nor Sewo Olonilua is probably going to supply a lot competitors for touches.
Huge receiver is one other settled group on the Cowboys’ offense. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will primarily line up exterior with CeeDee Lamb within the slot. Final season, we noticed Cooper come inside round 25% of his snaps, however that was not a direct change with Lamb. Lamb performed lower than 10% of his 2020 snaps lined up exterior. With Gallup as a consequence of be a free agent subsequent yr, will probably be intriguing to see whether or not Lamb or Gallup comes off the sphere in two-receiver units.
The opposite attention-grabbing ingredient will likely be which receiver can earn the first backup function to those three. Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson have familiarity with the offense, however the brand new addition, Simi Fehoko, ought to push them shut. Brown performed a career-high 228 snaps on offense final season however struggled to make a long-lasting impression.
Of the beginning roles on this Cowboys’ offensive depth chart, tight finish is the place the actual competitors comes. Blake Jarwin was extremely regarded coming into 2020 however managed simply 25 snaps earlier than a season-ending harm. Jarwin has simply 59 profession receptions, 684 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns in a four-year profession however is predicted by many to earn again the beginning function.
Following the harm to Jarwin, Dalton Schultz performed 85% of the offensive snaps for the Cowboys. He pulled in 63 receptions on 89 targets for 615 yards and 4 touchdowns. He supplied an especially helpful pair of arms for the Cowboys’ offense however maybe lacked the explosiveness that Dallas hopes to get from Jarwin.
Former Washington tight finish Jeremy Sprinkle and the returning Sean McKeon are unlikely to supply any actual competitors for a beginning function.
The offensive line additionally seems to be to be a reasonably settled group heading into coaching camp. Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and Zack Martin ought to all be again and totally wholesome. Collectively they make up a trio that types an excellent foundation for one of many best offensive lines in the entire league. Martin is so gifted and precious to this group that the Cowboys even moved him round final yr to try to make the most of him most successfully previous to his harm.
Behind Smith and Collins at deal with, there will likely be some curiosity within the swing deal with battle. Josh Ball is undeniably gifted however has a historical past of points off the sphere, which damage his inventory. Ty Nsekhe has been within the league since 2012 however has began simply 17 video games in that point. There needs to be no cause Ball can not beat out Nsekhe, however we might even see the veteran open the season as the first backup if Ball requires extra seasoning early on.
Connor Williams might even see some competitors from Connor McGovern for the beginning job at left guard. Matt Farniok may additionally put his title into the hat, however very similar to Ball, it could be a case that he’s behind on the Cowboys’ depth chart to open the season.
After a stable first few begins at heart, Tyler Biadasz is ready to open the season with the beginning function. There may be little critical competitors for the younger heart on this roster.
Cowboys Depth Chart Evaluation | Protection
Let’s break down the Cowboys’ depth chart on the defensive aspect of the ball.
Inside Defensive Line
The inside of this line of defense needs to be an attention-grabbing competitors in camp. Neville Gallimore ought to have the within observe to a beginning function, however who will accomplice with him may very well be attention-grabbing.
The departure of Antwaun Woods has left a chance for a beginning function to be claimed. Trysten Hill is the title that many count on to say that beginning function, however he noticed a fairly even cut up with Justin Hamilton in 2020. Final season, Hill had 3 QB hits on 5 pressures. In the meantime, Hamilton had simply 1 QB hit on 4 pressures.
Thrown into the combination is the third-round choice from the 2021 NFL Draft, Osa Odighizuwa. With neither Hill nor Hamilton having a agency grip on the beginning spot, Odighizuwa may power himself into the dialog.
The opposite two seeking to earn a beginning function are Carlos Watkins (who spent 4 years in Houston) and rookie Quinton Bohanna. A lot was anticipated of Bohanna coming into his ultimate yr in school, however he didn’t ship, and now the Cowboys will likely be seeking to assist him notice that uncooked expertise.
The time period “EDGE” is used loosely with a few of these gamers. The Cowboys have mentioned they’ll use a mix of 3-4 and 4-3 formations this season. Due to this fact, this group encompasses a number of gamers who may line up as both a standard defensive finish or an outdoor linebacker-style move rusher.
The snap leaders amongst this group needs to be DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory. Lawrence is the star of the road however has simply 11.5 sacks previously two seasons mixed. The Cowboys want him to get again to his perfect. Gregory can play the hybrid function on this offense and needs to be on the sphere loads. Whereas he has simply 9.5 sacks in his previous two seasons performed, he does have a complete of 41 pressures and 27 QB hits.
A contest between Tarell Basham, Dorance Armstrong, Chauncey Golston, and Bradlee Anae may actually be an attention-grabbing one. None of them are more likely to push Gregory or Lawrence for critical enjoying time, however all 4 may contribute.
The addition of Micah Parsons within the first spherical of the 2021 NFL Draft implies that the highest three on the Cowboys’ depth chart at linebacker is ready. Parsons will mix with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. The intriguing ingredient is how all three will likely be used if the Cowboys transition between a 4-3 and 3-4. Parsons’ versatility ought to enable him to drop out into an outdoor linebacker function. He also needs to be a more adept choice in protection than Smith or Vander Esch.
Behind these three is a captivating pairing of Keanu Neal and Jabril Cox. Neal performed with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in Atlanta and is ready to maneuver to linebacker from his earlier place at security. Cox can also be a gifted linebacker who was chosen within the fourth spherical. Neal will possible see time on passing downs, with Cox offering a extra all-around backup choice on the place.
The Cowboys may have a younger beginning mixture of Trevon Diggs and Kelvin Joseph. Whereas each are undeniably gifted, their inexperience may imply they make expensive errors in the course of the season.
Nonetheless, Diggs had a beautiful begin to his profession, permitting completions on simply 54.8% of targets. He did enable 5 touchdowns, however general it was a formidable rookie season. If Joseph can match that, the Cowboys will likely be extraordinarily pleased.
Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis will compete for the inside roles and presumably the first backup on the skin. Each have been stable within the final three years, with out ever being spectacular. Their competitors will come from Nahshon Wright, a third-round choice by Dallas this yr.
It is going to be intriguing to see how Reggie Robinson is used after transferring from nook to security after which again to nook since being drafted.
Dallas will deliver again Donovan Wilson at security after enjoying 60.8% of the defensive snaps in 2020. Wilson impressed, particularly when it comes to turnovers final season. He had 2 interceptions, 3 compelled fumbles, and a couple of fumble recoveries. He did a stable job in protection and had a missed deal with fee of simply 5.3%.
Wilson may very well be joined by one other former Falcon in Damontae Kazee, who had 7 interceptions in 2018. Kazee performed simply 4 video games in 2020 however had produced good ends in protection in 2018 and 2019. There is no such thing as a clear favourite to take the function from him, however Israel Mukuamu may very well be an intriguing participant to observe in camp.
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