Cowboys' Updated Depth Chart After Reported Everson Griffen Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2020

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) warms up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
Brett Duke/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys reportedly added a major piece to their defense Wednesday.  

According to Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Jane Slater of NFL Network, Dallas signed former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen in a move Rapoport called "a surprise."

Here is what the Cowboys' starting defensive depth chart looks like following the move:

  • LDE: DeMarcus Lawrence
  • LDT: Gerald McCoy
  • NT: Dontari Poe
  • RDE: Everson Griffen (Tyrone Crawford is on the Physically Unable to Perform list)
  • SLB: Leighton Vander Esch
  • MLB: Jaylon Smith
  • WLB: Sean Lee
  • LCB: Anthony Brown
  • S: Xavier Woods
  • S: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  • RCB: Chidobe Awuzie
  • NB: Jourdan Lewis

Griffen is a notable addition, especially with the season quickly approaching. Dallas is scheduled to start the 2020 campaign with a showdown against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 13.

Griffen is a four-time Pro Bowler who has been on the Vikings since they drafted him out of USC in 2010. He played 15 games last year and tallied 41 tackles, eight sacks, two passes defensed and one interception.

He also has three years with double-digit sack totals in his career.

The Cowboys were a solid ninth in the league in yards allowed and 11th in points allowed last year, but their pass rush left room for improvement. They were a middling 19th in the NFL with 39 sacks last year, and it was fair to worry about that production in 2020 after Robert Quinn and his 11.5 sacks left to join the Chicago Bears.

Griffen will provide an immediate boost to that pass rush, which should impact every level of the defense.

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His ability to draw additional blockers will open blitzing holes for other linemen and the linebackers, while the secondary will have to defend routes downfield for less time with him going after the quarterback.

Dallas is looking to bounce back from its 8-8 effort in 2019, and Griffen should help it do just that.