Versatility is key to Jayron Kearse contributing to Cowboys’ defense in 2021

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The Dallas Cowboys’ safety room has a lot to figure out as the regular season-opener approaches. Behind names like Donovan Wilson and Damontae Kazee, there’s competition for the backup roles at both positions. Jayron Kearse, a safety with sub-package experience, gives Dallas consistency that will pay dividends.

Kearse comes to Dallas after spending most of 2020 with the Lions. In 11 games the Clemson product made 59 total tackles and forced a fumble after missing the first three games due to a suspension.

Once drafted by the Vikings in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Kearse has bounced between three NFL teams before finding his way to the Cowboys on a one-year deal. Competing with rookie safety Israel Mukuamu for the second-string role behind Wilson, Kearse will be secure in his role with the utility of experience on special teams.

Our player profile series continues with No. 27, Jayron Kearse.

Background Detail

Jersey No.: 32 Position: Safety Age: 27 Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 215 pounds Hometown: Fort Myers, Florida High School: South Fort Myers College: Clemson Drafted: 2016, Round 7, Pick 244 Acquired: Signed on one-year, $1,127,500 deal

NFL Statistics

2020 Stats:

Games played: 11 Tackles: 59 Passes defended: 2 Forced fumbles: 1

Career Stats:

Games Played: 73 Tackles: 138 Passes defended: 10 Interceptions: 1 Forced fumbles: 1

Mini Gallery

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Player Profile

For Kearse, this season could be a chance to seize on the opportunity. Malik Hooker and Kazee both have had injury issues in recent years and Kearse's consistency will be necessary if Dallas finds the same misfortune with injuries they had a year ago. Kearse is known for his ability on the special teams unit and in packages where he can match up against tight ends and slot receivers. In Dallas, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will utilize his safeties all over the field, even moving Keanu Neal to linebacker. Kearse could see the same type of opportunity but his value will be focused on special teams for the Cowboys, having spent all of his five years in the NFL focusing on that role. On a short deal, Kearse could earn a home in Dallas, especially if he steps up in a role for the defense.

This profile is part of our countdown series to the regular season. For the full 90-man roster, go here. For our 53-man roster prediction, go here.

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