Photo credit: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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While the Dallas Cowboys haven’t had the best offseason losing Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. They did get better on the defense side of the ball with the addition of Leighton Vander Esch who the Cowboys drafted in the first round of this past draft. They now have three talented linebackers in Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Vander Esch all who have great instincts and their own unique strengths. Vander Esch in particular has been compared to Brian Urlacher and that’s quite the compliment for the rookie. Part of that is due to the fact that both player have a similar mold. Urlacher and Vander Esch are both 6 foot 4 inches and they have a tenacity that seems to run parallel in one another. Let’s be honest though Vander Esch has a long way to go before he can live up to that comparison but it’s definitely a good sign early on in his career. Then there’s Jaylon Smith who after missing all of the 2016 season came back and showed a few glimpses of promise last year. The former Notre Dame standout have a ton of upside and everyone has to remember he is still getting familiar with his rehabilitated knee. As Smith completely heals from that setback he’ll be even better and that’s something everyone in Dallas is upbeat about. The Cowboys knew drafting Smith was a long term approach but now that risk seems to be panning out. The final person in this linebacker group is Sean Lee and he’s perhaps the most important. Lee has been an x-factor for this defense since 2010. When Lee is on the field Dallas always has a chance to win because they consistently find a way to keep points off the board. When you combine all three of these guys together though that’s when things really get scary. The Cowboys have some serious firepower on defense and that’s going to be tough to match up with. It’ll be really nice if they can find a way to have all three of those players on the field at the same time.
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The Cowboys have three talented linebackers that can suffocate opposing offenses.