Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Browns 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

How Does Anthony Spencer Affect the Draft Strategy?

Most people would contend that Anthony Spencer re-joining the Cowboys does not change the draft strategy very much.  This is probably true; after all, the team is still in need of pass rushers and Spencer is only on a one-year deal.  It is possible, however, that the move will affect what positions are given a higher priority this May.

Prior to his signing, Defensive End was seen by most as the bigger hole on the Cowboys defensive line (compared to Defensive Tackle).  Henry Melton was signed to be the 3-technique.  Alongside him, it was projected that the promising Ben Bass would play, splitting time with Nick Hayden who progressed nicely throughout last season.

The Ends, on the other hand, were more of a mixed bag.  Just about every fan is excited to see what George Selvie will do fresh off a 7-sack 2013,  Yet the idea of a guy who is hardly a year removed from unemployment being the top pass rusher is a bit unnerving.  Not to say he couldn’t do it, just rather that some insurance was still desired.  Insert Terrance McClain – a 30-year old who was released by Jacksonville mid-season.  Behind him is Terrance Crawford, a 2012 third-round pick who missed the entire 2013 season thanks to a torn achilles.  There just isn’t much “insurance” to go around.

While Anthony Spencer is far from a guaranteed impact-player at this point, he does provide Dallas with some proven depth at the Defensive End position.  This could open up the opportunity for the Cowboys to spend their first-round pick on a defensive tackle, like Aarons Donald or Timmy Jernigan, rather than reach for a DE.  In the same respect, it could make the idea of selecting an OLB, such as UCLA’s Anthony Barr, to develop into a Defensive End a bit more palatable.

Only one thing is certain for the 2014 draft: the Dallas Cowboys will be looking to improve their defense.  The signing of Anthony Spencer does not change that, but it does give the team some flexibility.  Who knows, maybe the Cowboys will even feel good enough to taken an offensive player with their top pick.

How confident are you in Anthony Spencer for the 2014 season?  How do you think it should/will affect the team’s draft strategy?  Sound off in the comments below!

Tags: Aaron Donald Anthony Barr Anthony Spencer Dallas Cowboys Draft Featured Popular Timmy Jernigan

  • baronmwd

    I think his name is Tyrone not Terrance. Saying because of the Spencer signing they can target DT like Donald instead of reaching for a DE at 16 is a stretch. I think if Donald is there at 16 they don’t let 5 seconds off the clock before turning in the card. Excluding Clowney there is no DE worthy of top 20 or even top 25 pick. But there are a lot of good to really good DE’s to be had in 2nd- 4th rounds. I say they should trade back as far as the can in oder to get an extra early to mid round pick or two. After dropping back they should target a position of need at a position that is not so deep in this draft. Like LB, S, O-Line all of which the talent really drops off after the 2nd round. After all that Spencer shouldn’t effect Dallas draft at all.

    • SK_Jersey13

      Will definitely fix that mistake, thanks!
      What you say makes a lot of sense and I agree; I should have been more clear. Since Stephen Jones and others from the Cowboys have said that they feel taking a DT at 16 is unnecessary given the talent available later, I think it’s unlikely they use the 16 pick on one. In my opinion, they felt this way because they would have preferred to go after a DE first, then take a DT. I agree that no DE besides Clowney is probably worth taking in the top 20 (though you could convert Barr or even Hageman). Given all this, I would have envisioned the ‘Boys trading down and taking a DE late 1st round, then going after a DT later. Now with Spencer, they may feel okay about using the #16 pick on a Donald or Jernigan, since the need for a DE has been slightly alleviated.

      • David

        Its actually Terrell I believe.

  • David

    It should not affect their draft at all. They should proceed in the draft like he is not even on the team. They have no idea how he will come back from a severe knee injury. Not to mention he is still changing positions from OLB to DE where his injury prevented Dallas to see how he would do there. Dallas has so many needs that they need to look at DE (Barr), Safety (Pryor or Dix), LB (Shazier or Mosely) or Tackle (Thomas or Lewand) with their 1st round pick. They need playmakers on defense and should not and probably will not like last year draft a 1 tech D-lineman like Jernigan in the 1st round unless they trade down. They cannot afford to draft a guy like Donald who plays the same position as their new pro bowl 3 tech D-lineman. If they were a SB team with few hole and were drafting for depth then OK but clearly they are not.

  • Earl Robertson

    Not sure how he is going to do as a DE but it was a good move because of the money