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?

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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!

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

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