Micah Parsons is the headliner at linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. Dan Quinn will need the others around him to step up at the position.

Anthony Barr signed with the team earlier this month. The veteran gives the Cowboys much-needed insurance and talent at the second level. Second-year defender Jabril Cox has also generated some early hype after returning from a torn ACL.

However, the Dallas Cowboys will really need veteran Leighton Vander Esch to emerge as a reliable, if not impactful, contributor in 2022.

Vander Esch blossomed at linebacker early in his career. The 2018 first-rounder earned Pro Bowl honors as a rookie and looked to be the future at the position for the Cowboys.

Unfortunately, injuries have played a big role in Vander Esch regressing. He has struggled to stay healthy and has not performed to his rookie level when on the field.

That said, the former Boise State standout did play well down the stretch last season and is turning heads in training camp:

“One, he’s had a helluva offseason, Dan Quinn said about Vander Esch. “I just told him, ‘You are really at the top of your game right now in the pocket, what you’re doing.’”

Dallas did not pick up Vander Esch’s fifth-year option. Instead, the Cowboys signed the veteran linebacker to a one-year deal worth $2 million. That means that the upcoming season is huge for LVE as he plays for a new, and longer, contract.

The emergence of Parsons as a star and the signing of Barr takes pressure off the Cowboys relying on Vander too much. His injury history made it smart for Dallas to go out and add a Pro Bowl-caliber talent like Barr.

However, the Cowboys do need strong play from Leighton Vander Esch in order to have a successful season. So far in camp, it appears that Vander Esch is showing that he is ready to be called upon in 2022.

Featured image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports