Draft Pick DE/OLB Randy Gregory: How He Fits with the Cowboys


The Dallas Cowboys never cease to entertain. With the 60th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft the Cowboys selected perhaps the most controversial player on the board, Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory is a pass-rusher. Plain and simple. Ignore his current size for the time being. He’s far below his playing weight, but you can bet that will change on day one. Randy Gregory is a pass-rusher, and at a minimum, the Cowboys will use him as such in 2015

As you know, there are two parts to every Randy Gregory discussion: Randy Gregory the player and Randy Gregory the man. There’s no denying it, and there’s no denying that both parts must work together harmoniously, in order for him to have a successful career in Dallas.

If you’re reading this you know the ins and outs of Randy Gregory by now. You know of his multiple failed drug tests. You know of his natural physical dominance. Let’s put that to bed and assume the support structure that the Cowboys put in place, will keep him on the straight and narrow.

"BTW: If you thought the Dez Rules sounded controlling you ain’t seen nothing yet. The RG Rules are going to make the Dez Rules, look like recess."

Let’s instead focus on how exactly Randy Gregory fits on the Dallas Cowboys.

Much like the first round selection of Byron Jones, Randy Gregory offers a bit of position versatility. Not nearly to the same extent, but Gregory has the ability to play both defensive end and strong side linebacker.

He made a name for himself rushing the edge but has also proven pass-rushing effectiveness from the middle. To picture Gregory as a linebacker in coverage is a little concerning, but to picture him blitzing and crashing the line from the linebacker is a special kind of awesome.

He’s done it from ILB without a problem before, so it’s no stretch to see him as a SAM roaming behind the line ready to crash. From a SAM, Gregory can play instinctively, much like Bruce Carter did when he finally started flashing his oft-dormant skills.

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Gregory’s natural position is a defensive end. Keep in mind, his pass-rushing abilities on the edge are better than those of last year’s second rounder, DeMarcus Lawrence. Like Lawrence, he has a great lean around the edge. He’s narrowly built, but can take on blocks, and play the run with success. Normally you want your best pass-rusher on the right side, so it will be interesting to see how Gregory looks early, how Lawrence progresses, and how Hardy looks when he returns.

Because of that, expect a fluid situation across the line all season.

It’s hard to not try parallels between the Cowboys’ top two picks. Both Byron Jones and Randy Gregory’s short-term future is tied to how the positions groups shake out around them. For Gregory, it starts with the defensive line. Greg Hardy is a star pass-rusher and a rock-solid run stopper. He has the ability to play both sides. Jeremy Mincey is a decent pass-rusher but a liability against the run. It’s hard to say what DeMarcus Lawrence is, with such little film on the young man, but he was clearly working on both the pass-rush and run-stopping part of his game last season, and appears to be a complete player in the making.

Expect to Gregory as a situational pass-rusher from the defensive end early. The nickel pass-rush will be Mincey and Crawford in the middle, and Lawrence and Gregory as bookends. That’s a pretty fearful bunch.

When Hardy is added to the mix, Gregory needs to find a place somewhere. If Gregory has established himself as a pass-rusher by the time Hardy returns to the team, Gregory could very well stay on the end and Hardy would replace Mincey in the middle. Gregory will add weight this offseason but he’s not going to add enough to rush from a DT position.

The sky is the limit for young Randy Gregory, and if he performs like we expect him to, the Cowboys will use their pass-rusher as a moving chess piece. He can blitz from the middle and the edge. He can lineup and give inside moves, as well as outside moves. He can play the run and can take on and shed off blocks.

Randy Gregory the player is a pass-rusher…and in 2015, so much more. Assuming, of course, Randy Gregory the person doesn’t get in his way.

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