The Dallas Cowboys have made some moves in free agency to improve their defensive depth. The defense’s performance last season led most to believe that this would be the case. Adding Safety Damontae Kazee and Safety/Linebacker hybrid Keanu Neal will help their depth at those positions. They have even improved the defensive line by adding EDGEs Tarell Basham and Brent Urban. Even then, the secondary and front seven could still improve through the NFL Draft. Many expect them to take a Cornerback like Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain II with the 10th overall pick. A lot can change in this next month, though. After that, how they could address other needs gets a little cloudier. There are certainly impactful EDGE defenders that they could target on day 2 of the draft.

Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest

As one of the most productive defensive linemen in the class, the former Demon Deacon uses his impressive size and athleticism to disrupt offenses consistently. The biggest impact that Basham Jr. may provide is his versatility of playing on both the inside and outside of the defensive line. He’s got nice burst that allows him to get past both guards and tackles of the opposing offensive lines. Accordingly, Dallas could use the depth at both EDGE and Interior Defensive Lineman. Their current interior of the D-Line is fairly inexperienced, and they also are not bringing back EDGE Aldon Smith. Basham Jr. would come in and immediately create matchup problems in both spots in a Dan Quinn defense.

Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt

If Basham Jr. provides size, Odeyingbo provides major size. Dayo comes in at 6’6″ and 275 pounds. He’s an outstanding run defender, which the Cowboys desperately need right now. He also presents good pass-rushing upside off the edge as he continues to develop and grow into his exciting frame. Unfortunately, Odeyingbo suffered a torn achilles during his training for the NFL Draft. He is expected to fully recover from it, and a team (like Dallas) could get quite the gem in the middle rounds if he slides a bit due to the injury. Vanderbilt didn’t always employ him in the most effective ways, so his stats aren’t eye-popping. Regardless, he pops on film and was easily the most impactful player on the Commodore defense.

Quincy Roche, Miami

Roche is one of the most technically sound defenders in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has some of the quickest hands in the class and is very polished at play recognition. Roche also impressed many scouts at the Senior Bowl. In order to consistently get reps at EDGE in the league, he may have to put on some weight, as he is only around 245 pounds. Without adding weight, he could be looking at more traditional linebacker reps at the next level. With his technical work and functional athleticism, he could make an impact early on in his NFL career. The Cowboys could use a rotational rusher to add depth like Roche that could continue to blossom.

There’s more work to do for Dallas’s defense during this offseason, but these prospects are some options to make the most of their day 2 or day 3 selections.

 

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