The first man who stands to gain from David Irving’s suspension is Jihad Ward. In case you don’t remember, Ward was acquired from the Oakland Raiders over draft weekend. The former second round pick never lived up to expectations and was in danger of not making the roster in 2018.
The Dallas Cowboys, convinced they could find success where Oakland could not, have a positive track record with Ward. Three years ago, Rod Marinelli worked 1-on1 with Ward at the Senior Bowl. The impact he made with the young man was significant and the results on the field were clear.
Reuniting Marinelli and Ward in Dallas should benefit Ward immensely. In mini-camps Ward was said to be a “player who flashed” and someone who could carve out a first-team role in training camp. His size, speed, and quickness make him an ideal candidate to man the temporarily vacant under tackle spot, and if things work out, he may be the long-term solution the Dallas Cowboys need in the middle.
With such limited options available, the Dallas Cowboys will give Ward every opportunity to seize the role early. Perhaps a new scheme and better coaching is all Jihad Ward needs to excel at the NFL level. And perhaps David Irving just opened the door for his competition.