Cowboys add former safety, infamously shunned draft target to coaching staff

It’s no secret the Cowboys love to collect former first-round draft picks. Now they have one on their coaching staff. They’ve also brought back a very recent alum to help man the sidelines in a new capacity.

Dallas has reportedly hired Sharrif Floyd as its new assistant defensive line coach and defensive quality control coach, per a Thursday night tweet from ESPN’s Field Yates. In addition, ex-safety Darian Thompson will serve as the team’s new assistant linebackers and quality control coach; that development comes via the Dallas Morning News.

Floyd was selected by the Vikings with the 23rd overall pick in 2013’s NFL draft and played four seasons as a defensive tackle in Minnesota; he was forced into an early retirement due to severe nerve damage in his knee following a 2016 surgery.

There are a couple of Cowboys connections for Floyd. The lesser known side is that Floyd played two seasons of college ball at Florida with Dan Quinn as his defensive coordinator. He also spent a portion of last summer’s training camp interning with the team’s coaching staff.

Floyd is also linked to the Cowboys from the draft. In 2013, and in need of defensive tackle help, Floyd was available when the Cowboys came on the clock at 18. Dallas had Floyd ranked extremely highly but instead of taking him, traded down to No. 30. There, they allegedly reached for a center.

The decision to go against the scout’s draft board led to Will McClay’s eventual ascension to the top of the personnel hierarchy.

Floyd had been back in Gainesville, earning his college degree and working as a student-assistant under Gators coaches Dan Mullen and Billy Napier.

“[The] guy’s got a bright future in football and was an exceptional player,” Napier said of Floyd prior to the Gators’ 2022 season. “I think he’s got character. I think he understands the big picture, takes pride in his role, and certainly him being able to coach on the field, I think, is an advantage for players,” Napier said in August.

Floyd will replace Leon Lett, the Cowboys’ longtime assistant defensive line coach who was also a defensive tackle for the dynasty teams of the 1990s. Lett was one of the assistant coaches let go in January after Dallas’s divisional-round playoff loss.

As for Thompson, he last played, for the Cowboys, in 2021. A third-round pick by the Giants in 2016, he played two seasons in New York and then ended up in Dallas for the 2018 campaign.

With the Cowboys, the former Boise State Bronco appeared in 45 games over four years but was not re-signed after the 2021 season.  He finished his NFL playing career with 173 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

He reportedly interviewed for his new position on the Cowboys coaching staff this week.

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