The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Why the Cowboys Need to Sign LB Dan Connor

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Jonathan Bales

About a month ago, I posted an article called “Free agent CB Brandon Carr should be tops on Cowboys’ wish list.”  I later compared him to Cortland Finnegan, arguing why I prefer Carr.  To say I’m excited about the addition is an understatement.

Another player I desperately want, and one with whom the Cowboys are speaking, is former Panthers linebacker Dan Connor.  Connor is on the small side at 230 pounds, and that’s particularly true for a 3-4 backer.  With the increased importance on overall defensive quickness, though, I think Connor would be a tremendous addition to Rob Ryan’s defense.

I spent some time analyzing 2011 linebacker tackle rates.  Of the 50 linebackers who played at least 25% of their team’s snaps in 2011, only one (Donald Butler of San Diego) had a greater tackle rate than Dan Connor. Only 14 linebackers made a tackle on more than 10% of the snaps they played.  Connor checked in at 11.74%.  As a comparison, Sean Lee made a tackle on 9.33% of his snaps, Bradie James brought down the ball-carrier on 8.45% of snaps, and Keith Brooking came in at 8.31%.

By the way, there’s a pretty strong correlation between tackle rate and “consensus” linebacker ratings.  Among the league’s leaders in tackle rate are D’Qwell Jackson, NaVorro Bowman, London Fletcher and Derrick Johnson.

Of course, Connor’s lackluster defensive teammates may have contributed to his total a bit, and 62.1% of Connor’s snaps came against the run.  Still, I think he’s a play-making linebacker who can overcome his size to become a nice complement to Sean Lee inside.  He’s an automatic upgrade over James and Brooking, and could provide much-needed competition to second-year man Bruce Carter.

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3 Responses to Why the Cowboys Need to Sign LB Dan Connor

  1. steve26 says:

    Dan Connor is a needed signing. I really hope dallas gets this deal done. I am very impressed with the cowboys this offseason. Already filling needs at CB with Carr, OG with Mackenzy and possibly another guard, QB with Ortan, Safety with Pool and FB with Vickers. If we can add Connor at MLB that trully leaves dallas to draft BPA and maximize value with all thier picks.

    Nice job Jerry and Jason.

  2. trent says:

    done and done.

    this FA period is turning out about as well as any of us could have hoped, especially with the bogus penalty.

    i am still a little concerned about C, but i figure they will fill that with one of the dozen or so interior lineman on the roster.

    and some people probably still want to see a new DE, but i am more than happy to go to the draft with what we have now.

  3. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Wish granted.

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