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Going into the 2020 season, the Mike Nolan-led defense had extensive plans to be multiple. The plan was to show different fronts so the QB wouldn’t know what’s coming as was often the valid complaint lobbed at the previous regime’s Cover 3 defense.

While the plan was unsuccessful, it’s obvious the team believed that under new leadership and with new, better fitting personal, the multiple-fronts plan can work. The drafting of Kentucky’s Quinton Bohanna, No. 98, is proof that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is determined to keep with that tactic. Here is a look at the first true zero-tech NT ever drafted in the Will McClay regime, and the only player the Cowboys have who truly fits that odd-man front role.

Background Details

Position: Nose Tackle Age: 22 Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 326 pounds Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee High School: Cordova High School College: Kentucky Draft: Round 6, No. 192 overall Acquired: 2021 NFL Draft

College Stats

(AP Photo/David Stephenson)

(AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Player Profile

McClay has been the top dog in the draft department since 2014. In that time including up to third-round selection Osa Odighizuwa, he has drafted a total of seven prospects at the DT position with two big contingencies. The first is he has never drafted a DT in the top 50, and the second is they were all projected as penetrating, three-technique style DTs; never a true run-stuffing 1T, and definitely not a NT. That all changed with pick No. 192 in the draft this year. The Cowboys emphasis on speed over size before this upcoming season is well known. Bohanna comes in as the biggest player on the defense, and by more than 15 pounds. Quinn knows what he is there to do too. In his post-draft press conference Quinn precisely proclaimed, “He’s going to be over the center.” Bohanna was a key last piece to the Cowboys off-season plan of adding size. They got bigger and longer at every position, but without the big man in the middle, the odd-man front would be incomplete. Bohanna knows his job too, stating, “I take pride in stopping the run and letting those guys behind me run free and make plays. My physicality just fits well with the system that coach Quinn wants to run on defense.” Its clear the plan is to be big and hard to move on the defensive line and be fast and physical at LB. Let this deep LB group run and hit while the DL holds up blocks. The Cowboys know they had run-stopping issues last year, and have signed free agents and drafted this off-season to really attack that problem. Bohanna is literally a giant piece to that puzzle, and hopefully a key to turning this defense around.

Film Study from Voch Lombardi

You can find Mike Crum on Twitter @cdpiglet or at Youtube on the About the Cowboys Podcast. This profile is part of our countdown to the regular season.