Robert Ayers has never lived up to his first-round hype, but he has been a solid role player for the Denver Broncos in the past few years. Drafted out of the University of Tennessee in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Ayers has never solidified the starting defensive end position in Denver. He has been a quality rotational player for the Broncos, and he could be a starter for the Dallas Cowboys if he gets some good coaching from Rod Marinelli.
In 2013, Ayers had his best statistical season to date in terms of rushing the quarterback. He had 5.5 sacks, and he had a ton of pressures on the quarterback. Dallas has had problems addressing the defensive line so far in the offseason. Although they got their man in Henry Melton, there are still legitimate holes at both defensive end positions.
George Selvie played exceptionally well in 2013, but there are concerns if he is the long-term starter in Dallas. If the season started today, the player opposite of Selvie would be Jeremy Mincey. The former Bronco has fallen out of flavor since he got released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Mincey is a good fit for this defense because he has the versatility to play defensive end or defensive tackle.
With around $5 million in cap space leftover, the Cowboys could very wisely sign Ayers to a 2-year, $8 million deal. These 2-year deals are becoming very eminent in Dallas because ownership sees that they can bring in guys and make them contributors because of the teaching Marinelli does. Dallas will not have a stud pass rusher, but they will have an array of players that could sack the quarterback. Ayers could be one of those guys that could come in every few downs and make an impact.
At 6’3″, 275 pounds, Ayers has good size to play as a defensive end in the 4-3. Ayers played in the 4-3 defense with the Broncos, and the scheme wouldn’t be new to him. Sometimes, it takes longer than expected to develop in the NFL. Ayers never shined in Denver, but possesses the combination of speed and explosiveness that will allow him to be a quality player for an NFL defense. With Marinelli working his magic, Ayers would be a nice fit in Dallas.