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3 Cowboys Defenders Who Will Break Out Under Mike Zimmer

What kind of Dallas Cowboys defender will emerge under new DC Mike Zimmer?

It wasn’t that long ago that Dan Quinn was the hero the Dallas Cowboys defense needed. In the 2020 season, the Cowboys ranked 28th in the NFL, allowing 29.8 points per game, and the emergence of Dan Quinn was a gift from the football gods.

Quinn’s arrival, combined with a bit of luck in the NFL draft when Micah Parsons fell to selection, saw the Cowboys jump from nearly 30 points per game to 21.1 points per game, seventh in the NFL. Now Quinn is gone and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has taken his place.

Zimmer has a long history with several high-profile defensive systems, including time as head coach of the Vikings and prior to that as defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. Which player on the Cowboys roster will benefit most from Zimmer’s arrival? 1. Maisie Smith, DL

The Dallas Cowboys are hoping for a breakout year from Mazie Smith in year two regardless of who takes over on defense, but it can’t hurt to take a fresh look at a first-rounder from last year’s draft. Obviously, the Cowboys had Smith play 30 pounds lighter than his reported NFL draft weight of 337 pounds, and not only that, he moved out of his position as a 3-tech instead of a 1-tech. I’m not entirely sure why the cowboys did this.

Except, if they don’t immediately get all of their most talented players on the field, then you can understand that. But Zimmer could benefit from simply returning Smith to his native habitat and asking him to do the things that made him great in the first place.

Even though investing in Smith, a first-round pick, could yield a greater total return at the three-tech position, there will be opportunities to disrupt the game at the one-tech position. The Cowboys need Smith to break out in 2024 and bolster a pretty terrible NFL draft class.

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