Defensive backs Damarious Randall and Morgan Burnett took the majority snaps in the slot last year. The Packers traded the former to the Browns, and the latter signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Cowboys have early expectations for linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, per Hill. “The Cowboys expect [Vander Esch] to have an immediate and definitive impact. Their love for him and his potential, which began with linebackers coach Ben Bloom as far back as the combine, has only grown with his presence at camp.”
At Boise State, Vander Esch flashed the ability to cover in space with two interceptions, five pass breakups and 91 solo tackles during his junior year. Expect him to pair with Sean Lee when two linebackers take the field.
Tampa Bay acquired Mitch Unrein and Beau Allen, but neither player should pose a threat to Vea as a starter, especially with Chris Baker and Clinton McDonald signing deals with the Bengals and Broncos, respectively.
Vea will start and provide an immediate impact to shore up the front line against ground attacks in the upcoming season.
The Washington Redskins addressed their porous defensive line with the No. 13 overall pick. In the upcoming season, NFC East running backs Ezekiel Elliott, Barkley and the Philadelphia Eagles stable of tailbacks will attempt to gouge last year’s worst run defense. The front office prepared for this issue with Da’Ron Payne.
Payne joins fellow Alabama product Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. He’d effectively replace Ziggy Hood, who’s a backup player at best. Washington also added fifth-round interior defender Tim Settle (Virginia Tech) for good measure, but he’s going to take snaps in a rotational role.