Dan Quinn resurfaced in 2021 and tidied up the mess that was the Dallas Cowboys' defense. However, the unit continued to have problems with giving up big plays: the team was among the five that gave up the most plays for 20+ yards, both on the ground and in the air. This shouldn't improve, especially with so many changes.
On the defensive line, the main issue to resolve will be how to replace Randy Gregory. Dante Fowler arrived for the job, but he's an inconsistent player and has never shined as expected. On the opposite side, DeMarcus Lawrence came back from injury playing at a good level and is an important part of Quinn's system. The kernels taste bittersweet: while Osa Odighizuwa has had a great rookie year, Neville Gallimore has yet to shine. Improving the defense against the inside runs will be critical.
However, the defensive line has special support: none other than the 2021 defensive rookie of the year Micah Parsons. The team leader with 13 sacks, he should continue to be used in pressure in passing situations, with Quinn shifting a safety to fill his traditional linebacker role. When lined up in his original position, Parsons also produces a show: he had 21 tackles for lost yards and 35 stops, placing him in the top 5 in the league. By his side, Leighton Van Der Esch is back.
Trevon Diggs leads the secondary and is now one of the most polarizing players in the NFL. While he led the league in interceptions with 11, he was also the player with the most yards allowed, with an astonishing over 1000. A little bit of aggression measurement can be key here. On their side, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis may have a good time. Kelvin Joseph can gain ground if he can stay healthy and not get complicated by the legal problem he faces.
Among the safeties, Jayron Kearse is coming off a surprising season and should see Malik Hooker take the starting position at his side, thus forming a solid duo.