Cowboys news: Malik Hooker identified as a “no-brainer” signing for the Dallas Cowboys – Blogging The Boys

No-brainer NFL signings that should happen right now – Chris Roling, Bleacher Report

A healthy Malik Hooker would be a pretty significant boost to Dallas’ secondary.

S Malik Hooker to the Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys went all-in on rebuilding a miserable defense from last season, saying goodbye to names like Aldon Smith and Sean Lee before signing several defensive free agents and using a first-round pick on linebacker Micah Parsons.

So why not add a dynamic safety to the roster?

Malik Hooker, the 15th overall pick in 2017, is still out there and just 25 years old. He’s been an injury risk for the duration of his career, hence the Indianapolis Colts declining his fifth-year option. Last year, he only made it in two games.

But in 2019 over 13 appearances, Hooker posted a 69.5 PFF grade, picking off two passes on 20 targets. He’s still one of the rangier safeties in the league when healthy and boasts a ton of upside he has yet to realize.

Dallas did add safeties Damontae Kazee and Jayron Kearse in free agency, but Hooker is an upgrade on both if healthy. Even better for Dallas, he’d come on a cheap prove-it deal, so the risk is minimal.

If Cowboys sign Malik Hooker, what does it mean for other safeties? – Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Signing Malik Hooker could have a ripple effect at safety for the Cowboys.

Malik Hooker joining the group would be a dramatic change. While the first four years of his NFL career haven’t gone as hoped, Malik was one seen as an elite prospect and has consistently produced turnovers despite the series of injuries he’s had to play through.

Dallas would certainly be giving Hooker a chance to compete for a starting role against Kazee and Wilson. Neither has a firm hold on it; Donovan is still young and relatively unproven and Damontae only got about $1 million in his one-year contract to join the Cowboys. Everything is up for grabs at all points on the safety depth chart.

If Malik was to bump one of Kazee or Wilson from a starting role then they would likely remain on the roster for depth. That would certainly be bad news for Mukuamu or Thompson, and perhaps both if Dallas is only keeping four total safeties on the 2021 roster.

Watch CeeDee Lamb’s impressive one-handed catch at Cowboys training camp – Alyssa Barbieri, USA Today

CeeDee Lamb reminding everybody just how talented he is in training camp already

Three reasons why Cowboys could be legit Super Bowl contenders; top five off-ball linebackers – Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Super Bowl or bust? Are the Cowboys really legitimate contenders in 2021?

3) Dan Quinn’s straightforward defense could be a game changer. Say what you will about DQ’s failures at the end of his run in Atlanta, but the Cowboys’ energetic defensive coordinator could be exactly what this team needed to get over the hump. Quinn’s optimism, energy and demanding style can whip Dallas’ D into shape while allowing a number of young defenders to quickly acclimate to the pro game. Sure, the thought of a historically bad unit abruptly reversing its fortunes under a defensive play-caller who struggled with his previous team might feel like a stretch, but Quinn’s simplistic scheme and attention to fundamentals should help the Cowboys play respectable defense in 2021.

Part of the improvement should stem from fewer blown coverages and mental mistakes out of a defensive backfield that just couldn’t grasp former DC Mike Nolan’s complex tactics. Dallas’ collection of inexperienced defenders in the secondary struggled with the constant adjustments, and their lack of communication frequently enabled receivers to run free. In addition, the lack of effort and attention to detail resulted in lackluster play and scattershot production from a unit that clearly underachieved a season ago. After Quinn trims down the playbook to feature a few basic concepts from a variety of different fronts, the Cowboys’ D should look faster and more aggressive on the field, with players hustling from Point A to Point B with more urgency and clarity.

From a personnel standpoint, the move to a simplified defense should help a unit that could feature a handful of rookies and second-year defenders in prominent roles. On the island, the Cowboys could have three youngsters (second-year pro Trevon Diggs, and rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright) in key roles in their nickel and dime packages. Quinn will rely on rookie LBs Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox to add some speed and athleticism to a linebacker corps that struggled with speed in space last season. He will tap into their unique skills as second-level hybrids to create more havoc and chaos while using a straightforward scheme that features fronts and coverages utilized at the high school level.

With DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory and the rest of the athletic front also benefiting from a simplified pass-rush plan, the Cowboys could win games with an opportunistic defense that benefits from playing opposing offenses forced to chase points by Dallas’ explosive attack.

Practice points: Backup WRs shine; QB setback? – Dallas Cowboys Staff Writers, DallasCowboys.com

Things are getting interesting for the Dallas Cowboys in training camp.

Here are some highlights that came out of Saturday’s session:

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis said the atmosphere “felt like a game” on Saturday as the fans provided plenty of energy on each and every play. Quarterback Ben DiNucci said the two-minute drill was sparked by the crowd, that gave instant reaction each and every play.

Cooper Rush, one of the backup quarterbacks on the roster, seemed to suffer an injury midway through practice. He walked off towards the sideline to meet with the athletic trainers for a moment. He returned to the field but didn’t throw another pass the rest of the day.

The most memorable segment of the practice was the two-minute drill – particularly Dak Prescott’s. The first-team offense went three-and-out to start the session, but their second attempt was much more encouraging. Prescott went 7-of-8 in driving the starters down the field with time dwindling on the practice clock. The offense moved itself inside the 10-yard line, where Prescott looked for Noah Brown twice. The first was a slant over the middle that likely would have scored a touchdown in a padded situation. The second was a back shoulder fade, which Brown hauled in over Nahshon Wright in impressive fashion – though he was unfortunately well out of bounds.

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