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Cowboys Have Eyes for Two Texas A&M Defenders at NFL Combine

The Dallas Cowboys have their sights set on defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson and linebacker Edgerrin Cooper from the Texas A&M Aggies at the NFL Combine.

During this week's 2024 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, the Dallas Cowboys are engaged in formal interviews with two ex-Texas A&M players: defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson and linebacker Edgerrin Cooper. 

These formal interviews hold more weight as they reflect the team's genuine interest, contrasting with the informal meetings held with most players in attendance.


Both Jackson and Cooper address defensive needs for the Cowboys, especially considering the underwhelming performances of their respective position groups in 2023. 

Johnathan Hankins, the team's nose tackle, fell short of expectations and is now a free agent, potentially leaving a gap in the roster. Mazi Smith, a 2023 first-round pick, failed to make a significant impact, despite high hopes from former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Overall, the defensive line lacks depth and struggled in critical moments, notably during playoff exits and other losses over the past three seasons.

Dallas originally intended to employ two linebackers in their defensive scheme, primarily utilizing dime formations with six defensive backs. However, injuries to Demarvion Overshown and Leighton Vander Esch forced adjustments, resulting in safeties being deployed in the box. 

Jackson excelled as a nose tackle in the SEC in 2023, earning a rush defense grade of 76.0 and recording 14 pressures as a pass rusher. Despite missing the first half of the 2022 season due to injury, he made an impact upon return, ranking second on the team in tackles for loss (seven) and recording two sacks and 37 tackles in eight games. 

Sep 23, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1) runs the ball on a quarterback keeper as Texas A&M Aggies linebacker Edgerrin Cooper (45) attempts a tackle during the second quarter at Kyle Field.

Cooper played a key role in the Aggies' defense, contributing to their seventh-place ranking in total defense among Power 5 teams with 295 yards per game. He led the team in tackles for loss (17.0) and ranked sixth in total tackles (84) and fourth in sacks (8.0) in the SEC, earning multiple first-team All-American honors and recognition from the SEC coaches.

With their impressive performances and accolades at Texas A&M, McKinnley Jackson and Edgerrin Cooper have caught the attention of the Dallas Cowboys. Not only do they possess the talent and skills to bolster the Cowboys' defense, but as former Aggies, they also have the opportunity to continue their football careers in their home state of Texas.