We're doing a series to provide an outlook on the Cowboys' roster until training camp arrives. Episode 8, the interior defensive linemen.
It's difficult to understand how the Cowboys created so much pressure through the edges last season with such a gap between their pass rushers and their interior defensive linemen. There's potential within the group, but to get there, some tough roads will be taken before.
Neville Gallimore and Osa Odighizuwa are two of the biggest rising stars there, but neither of them is a finished product. Odighizuwa had the second-most pressures and stops for any rookie iDL last season, which is a great sign, but he still needs to improve his technique to get out of double blocks; Gallimore has experience as a starter from the 2020 season, but needs to show he's fully recovered from the injury that took away most of his 2021 playing time.
Carlos Watkins re-signed with the team and is set to also start as a 4-3 defensive tackle, but he's a limited player who has some pass-rushing skill because of his past as a defensive end. Don't expect him to produce much of an impact - I'd bet that Odighizuwa will take over the starting job from him at some point during the season; the talent gap between these two is huge.
Interior defensive linemen room grade: 3/5. This is one of the weakest spots on the Cowboys' roster and, unless there's a major improvement from any of the young guys, it will be a liability throughout the season.