After trading up for Devin Street, the Dallas Cowboys only had five seventh-round picks. With the first of many picks in the last round, the Cowboys drafted Ben Gardner, a defensive end out of Stanford. While he isn’t as talented Trent Murphy, who played across from him in college and is now a Redskin, Gardner still started at defensive end for one of the best defenses in all of college football. In fact, Stanford led college football in sacks last year.
The Cowboys drafted Demarcus Lawrence in the second round and the Boise State product will likely start at the left defensive end position of Anthony Spencer. After not re-signing Jason Hatcher and releasing DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys had their work cut out for them to revamp their defensive line. With the additions of Lawrence and Gardner, the Cowboys are bringing in two players who could end up becoming real good players in the NFL.
Gardner is a 6’4″, 277 pound defensive who is at his best when he is in one-on-one situations in the open field. Gardner’s technique is topnotch, as he shows the ability to use his hands to slap away blocks. He is an instinctive defensive end who will make his presence felt against the run. Gardner has an excellent motor and he will be able to have a solid role on this defense.
Rod Marinelli is perhaps the best defensive line coach in the NFL and he is getting a player who has a ton of potential. Gardner is a bit of a tweener, but with an NFL weight room and an NFL conditioning program, he will find a way to put on 10-15 pounds of muscle. Gardner’s floor is a good rotational pass rusher in the 4-3. But, his ceiling is a guy who can get double-digit sacks for years. This was a smart investment for the short-term and the long-term.