Source: The #Cowboys have agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with LB Leighton Vander Esch. Their former first round pick is back.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2022
Leighton Vander Esch Has Signed With Dallas Cowboys
Vander Esch has played all four seasons with the Cowboys. He has had some injury issues but has played in each season. As a rookie, he made his name well-known starting in 11 of 16 games with 140 total tackles. Vander Esch followed up his impressive rookie season with 72, 60, and 77 tackles the next three seasons respectively.
Leighton Vander Esch had one solid rookie season pic.twitter.com/xagVPOEdN4
— PFF (@PFF) March 1, 2019
The former Boise State Bronco works to control the middle of the field and the running game. Part of Vander Esch’s allure is his ability to keep the run-game in check amidst a massive defensive rebuild in Dallas. The Cowboys have been terrible defensively in 2019 and 2020, leaving Leighton Vander Esch as the lone bright spot being the linebacking corps. He has had a great career thus far playing alongside Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, and Micah Parsons.
Injuries Keep Leighton Vander Esch Off the Field
Vander Esch has had some up-and-down play and suffered from injuries in Dallas. He missed a big chunk of the season in 2019 with a nerve injury in his neck forcing him onto the IR. In 2020 he suffered a broken collarbone in the Week 1 opener. Vander Esch got his first start after Sean Lee went down with a hamstring injury in 2017. When healthy he has been one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. If he is able to stay healthy he is a valuable asset in the underneath passing game, and in controlling the run game.
Vander Esch’s College Career
Dallas selected Vander Esch 19th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Boise State University. Vander Esch had to walk-on at Boise State University. He struggled to find the field consistently in part to injuries and mediocre play. As a junior, he earned a starting position as the weak-side linebacker. Vander Esch earned Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year with 141 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, and four forced fumbles. He opted to forgo his senior season to enter the 2018 NFL Draft with 188 total tackles, five sacks, and three interceptions.