Brief Roster Evaluation – Defense

Starting with defense:

DE – Cowboys have two starters in Parsons and Lawrence. Armstrong and Fowler were blocking the development of draft pick Sam Williams, a 2nd round pick. Also the Cowboys have Golston and Fehoko.

DT – Cowboys have recent 1st and 3rd round picks to start in Smith and Odighizuwa. Lawrence can also play inside, and both Golston and Fehoko can also rotate inside in place of Odighizuwa. It is sink or swim for Mazi Smith, and the Cowboys need another big body to back him up.

LB – Cowboys brought in Kendrick, and have Clark and Overshown coming back. They need more depth.

CB – two All-Pro starters who have each led the NFL in interceptions – Diggs and Bland. Strong veteran savy nickleback in Lewis, but small and slow. Two young backup players in Wright and Scott, plus Mukuamu can back up in the slot.

Safeties – long term contracts in place for starters in Wilson and Hooker. Bell, who started at LB a year ago, can take over the Kearse role, with strong depth with Thomas and Mukuamu – may be the deepest position group on the defense.

Bottom line: the Cowboys have prepared well to lose the players they lost on defense. Draft picks – high draft picks – are in place to take over the roles occupied by departed players. Depth and youth are needed at Linebacker and defensive tackle. But it isn’t unreasonable for the Cowboys to place a demand on recently drafted players to step up and contribute more. A lot of naysayers may be surprised with how well the Cowboys defense plays if recent draft picks start living up to their potential.

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