Dallas Cowboys: What does Randy Gregory bring to the table?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01: Byron Marshall /

The Dallas Cowboys will be without David Irving for the first four games of the 2018 season. How can Randy Gregory help this team in the interim?

Barring any setbacks, Randy Gregory is set to return to the NFL as he is on track for reinstatement. As he begins to make his return to the Dallas Cowboys, just what exactly can Gregory bring to the table if he is given the opportunity?

The former second-round pick was expected to be a major force for the Cowboys pass rush. Now all the team can do is be hopeful that he can contribute in some meaningful fashion. What can Gregory do for this defense in 2018?

Well, there are a couple of answers for that, the first being if he is reinstated, he should line up as a defensive end. Now that poses some interesting questions especially now that David Irving is suspended.

At first, all the worry rested with Maliek Collins who is still recovering from an injury and may not be ready until the middle/end of training camp but now both of the teams starting defensive tackles are looking fairly shaky for Week One. Irving can appeal but his violation came from missed drug tests, no appeal really to that.

  But mainly we are faced with some big questions. First, who will be kicked back into defensive tackle (Jihad Ward cannot handle both duties by himself) second, who is the most reliable defensive end besides DeMarcus Lawrence?

I mean Taco Charlton is expected to have grown tremendously and should be a much larger factor during his sophomore year, so he stays at defensive end. Jihad Ward is expected to be the next man up for Irving and should now begin to run with the ones. 

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You have backups, Richard Ash, Brian Price, and Antwaun Woods waiting in the wings but only Price seems to be a legitimate replacement for Irving or Collins if he is unable to go. That means that someone has to be moved inside and out of the ends only one player makes a lot of sense, Tyrone Crawford.

The Cowboys veteran defensive lineman is not being paid for his production rather his versatility. Expect him to be tasked with moving back inside before anyone else. Free-agent addition Kony Ealy is a natural fit at end and several other natural ends still have a lot to prove on this roster.

Even if Crawford “lost a bunch of weight” it still does not matter as he probably has more experience at defensive tackle than any of the other ends. Randy Gregory will likely slide into a reserve role at defensive end and if his play stands out he will get more significant snaps.

A few weeks ago even seeing Gregory back in the NFL seemed like a pipe dream now it seems like the bigger question is what exactly will his role be in the final year of his contract?

Next: Dallas Cowboys: David Irving suspended for four games

Only time will tell as the Dallas Cowboys continue to adjust their roster as training camp begins.