The Dallas Cowboys are searching for some depth at linebacker and former Pro Bowler Deion Jones would be a strong fit for Dan Quinn’s unit.
Jones played five seasons for Quinn while he was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and he is a tackling machine. He’s gone over 100 tackles in five of his seven seasons in the NFL and is coming off a decent year with the Cleveland Browns.
Jones would be a welcomed addition to the unit that includes Jabril Cox, Leighton Vander Esch and rookie DeMarvion Overshown — among others. Bleacher Report linked him to the Cowboys in an article breaking down “NFL Free-Agent Signings That We’re Still Waiting to Happen in 2023.”
Jones’ familiarity with Quinn is part of the equation. His ability to be a sideline-to-sideline run defender is another. The Cowboys drafted defensive tackle Mazi Smith and linebacker DeMarvion Overshown to help address their 22nd-ranked run defense, but they shouldn’t be finished adding pieces.
After all, the Cowboys are likely to face run-heavy teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants at some point in the postseason.
The Cowboys were rumored to be in the mix for Jones last season when he was being shopped by the Falcons. He landed with the Cleveland Browns, appearing in 11 games and starting five. He played on 59 percent of the snaps, collecting 44 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception.
Jones would likely come as a cheap addition. He hasn’t seen much interest as a free agent but did visit with the Giants earlier in the free agent cycle.
Dan Quinn Has Built Elite Defense With Cowboys
The Cowboys defense has earned a reputation as one of the best units in the league under Quinn. Dallas led the league in turnovers for a second consecutive season and limited opponents to 19.7 points per game — sixth in the NFL.
Veteran linebacker Leighton Vander Esch credited Quinn for the culture he’s built on the defensive side of the ball.
“The culture and the vibe that he brings in the room every single day is unmatched,” Vander Esch said, via Mike Fisher of Sports Illustrated. “The energy that he carries with him is contagious. It makes you want to be around him.”
There’s also the fact that Quinn has been in the mix for head coaching jobs the last two offseasons but instead has decided to stay put and take care of some “unfinished business” with the Cowboys.
“He literally could have went and got a head coaching job pretty much anywhere that he wanted,” Vander Esch said. “And the fact that he stayed here with us, it showed us how much he cared about us and this crew, and really what we can do.”
DeMarvion Overshown Adds New Element to Defense
Overshown is a rookie the Cowboys are excited to add to the mix. Dallas’ third-rounder is a converted safety and plays all over the field, garnering All-Big 12 honors last season at Texas.
“It means the world,” Overshown said after being drafted. “Growing up around nothing but Cowboys fans, they were basically my hometown team. Getting that call where it says The Star and hearing Jerry Jones’ voice, that meant the world to me and it’s a feeling that I’ll never forget and I’ll cherish forever. The tears instantly came down my face once I saw that number. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. I’m blessed.”
Overshown finished his final season at Texas with 96 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks and five pass breakups.