Skip to main content

Offseason | 2021

No Secret Where Quinton Bohanna's Lining Up


FRISCO, Texas — New Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn didn't reveal much about the defense's roles and rotations in his first Dallas-area media session during draft week.

Maybe he's keeping his cards close to the chest.

Maybe he's waiting until the players take the field this spring and summer.

Probably a little of both.

But Quinn was quite clear where sixth-round draft pick Quinton Bohanna will play on the defensive line.

"He's going to be right over the center. Sometimes here, other times right there," Quinn said with a smile, measuring off the distance with his hands by mere inches.

When asked about former quarterback Tony Romo's future with the team back in 2017, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones famously said, "I have a high tolerance for ambiguity." There's no ambiguity about the 330-pound Bohanna's role with the Cowboys.

He's a nose tackle, plain and simple. And his arrival represents a continued shift in philosophy up front on defense.

For the second straight offseason, a space-eating tackle has joined the defensive line's interior. Dontari Poe was signed last year for that position, though the Cowboys released him at midseason amid the defense's struggles against the run.

This year, Bohanna will have a chance to earn that spot. It's not a given. There's a defensive tackle logjam even after former starter Antwaun Woods' release last week. Trysten Hill, Neville Gallimore, third-round pick Osa Odighizuwa and free agent pickups Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins will all compete for spots.

But Bohanna does add a unique presence to the room. No player on the current defensive line comes close to his listed 330-pound playing weight. Veteran Justin Hamilton ranks second at 315.

Bohanna knows exactly how he can carve out a career at the next level.

"Just to come in and be the one technique, the zero technique and the nose tackle that they needed. And that I'm a great fit for the scheme that they want to run," he said.

"It's what I do. I take pride in stopping the run and letting those guys behind me run free and make plays. They know that's what I love to do. My physicality just fits well with the system that Coach Quinn wants to run on defense."

Previous defenses under former coordinator Rod Marinelli relied more on smaller, quicker tackles penetrating gaps. The Cowboys still have tackles on the roster who can get upfield (Hill, Gallimore). But Bohanna, if he earns a spot, can help plug the middle. That was a big factor in Dallas allowing the second-most rushing yards in franchise history a year ago.

"He's a big guy, he's got great length, he can really bend," Quinn said. "And, so, he's a nose tackle."

No question about it.

Related Content