Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's role with the Dallas Cowboys had to be questioned after the team declined to pick up his 2022 option. The team also drafted Micah Parsons in the first round of the NFL Draft, but defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has continued to praise Vander Esch this offseason.
Quinn was hired over the winter in hopes that he can help transform a defense that struggled last season giving up an average of 29.6 points per game (No. 28 in NFL). He has been impressed with Vander Esch's work ethic and even explained how the young playmaker seems to be on a mission.
"You could just feel the energy and intensity that he’s putting into his workouts to change his body, to get as strong as he could. From then on, the questions, in the meetings, you could feel the urgency to go."- Dan Quinn on Leighton Vander Esch
Vander Esch has been a key piece to this Cowboys defense ever since he was drafted back in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft. The 25-year-old racked up 60 tackles, 1.0 sack and 1 forced fumble while starting 10 games with Dallas last season. The only thing holding him back is his injury history.
In fact, Vander Esch has missed a combined 13 games over the last two seasons. The Pro-Bowler has been working hard to improve his tackling skills as well as his coverage abilities this offseason. He heads into the fall on the last year of his contract and is likely playing for a future spot on this team.
Assuming he can stay healthy, Vander Esch could be in for a bounce back type of year. The Cowboys enter the 2021 season with high hopes and are currently tied for the 11th-best odds to take home the Lombardi Trophy at +2800, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.