Salary cap casualties could make LB a position of need for the Dallas Cowboys, so let’s see who they could draft to fill the void.
Leighton Vander Esch was a solid LB for the Cowboys in 2022. But he’s now a free agent and Dallas will soon need to sign CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs to new deals.
Ideally, LVE would return to Dallas next season to keep consistency in an overall stellar defense. But the Cowboys could look to the draft to find a younger and cheaper option at MLB. Here are some names to familiarize yourself with as they could be wearing the star on their helmet next year:
Drew Sanders – Arkansas
Sanders was a five-star prospect from Denton, Texas; located just 45 minutes north of Dallas. After not getting many snaps with Alabama in his first two years, Sanders transferred to Arkansas and had a breakout season.
Sanders was extremely versatile for the Razorbacks in 2022. Not only did he average over eight tackles per game, he also added 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. The 21-year-old was an AP first-team All-American.
Sanders is a monster at 6’5, 230-pounds. Yet, he still has the speed to track down ball carriers and his length helps him in pass coverage. Sanders’ versatility and athleticism will make him an excellent off-ball linebacker.
Sanders is expected to be off the draft board late in the first round or early in the second.
Jack Campbell – Iowa
The 6’5, 246-pound Dick Butkus Award recipient has NFL size and is a prototypical middle linebacker. His specialty is run stopping and his 128 total tackles were the 12th most in CFB last season. Campbell’s 91.7 PFF grade was second-best in the nation among LBs.
Campbell’s skill as a run stopper makes his abilities in pass coverage easy to forget about, but he’s great at that too. PFF gave the Cedar Rapids-native a 92.9 coverage grade which was tops among LBs.
Campbell projects to go in the second or third round of the draft.
Daiyan Henley – Washington State
At 23-years-old, Henley isn’t your typical three year college player. Instead, Henley played five seasons at Nevada before an impressive sixth season at Wazzu.
The Los Angeles-native’s strength is his speed and acceleration. He can cover ground quickly to stop a big play before it can unfold. In 2022, he tallied 106 total tackles and 12 tackles for loss in 12 games.
Interestingly, Henley spent his first two seasons at Nevada as a WR. In year three, he moved to DB and eventually found his niche as a LB in year four. His time as a WR and DB helped him become one of the top coverage LBs in the draft.
Henley’s age and lengthy college career make him a projected second round draft pick.