Dallas Cowboys: Forget Taco, we should be excited for Dorance Armstrong

Dorance Armstrong #92 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Dorance Armstrong #92 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

Dorance Armstrong Jr is the young developing defensive end Dallas Cowboys fans should be talking about right now

It’s not exactly going out on a limb by decreeing Taco Charlton a bust. In his first two seasons, the former first round pick of the Dallas Cowboys has been taking steps backwards, not forwards, in his development as an NFL defensive end.

But instead of focusing on Taco’s failure, we should really be focusing on another young defensive end’s potential. Dorance Armstrong Jr was draft target of Dallas’ last spring. When he started sliding in the draft, Dallas happily pounced, picking the former Jayhawk up at pick 116.

Armstrong didn’t get much attention from Cowboys Nation in his first season, but that will probably change here in 2019. At 6’4” 260 Armstrong is the perfect blend of size, speed, and athleticism. When all is said and done, Armstrong has the potential to be the steal of the Cowboys 2018 Draft.

After dominating as a sophomore to the tune of 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss, he fell to just two sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in his junior season (final season). Why such a drop in production? Two reasons:

  1. The defense was re-tooled moving him from DE to an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
  2. And he was the only good defensive player on a crumby Kansas defense.

Expanding on that second point – Opposing offenses keyed on him every game and none of Armstrong’s college teammates could capitalize. So while the stat sheet indicates regression, scouts all see the same dominant player. Rod Marinelli was downright giddy to add Armstrong last April, even if there wasn’t an immediate role available on the team.

Playing behind DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, and Taco Charlton has a way of limiting one’s snaps, ya know? But as the season progressed, so did opportunities for Armstrong. With 273 snaps on the season, Armstrong didn’t make a huge impression, but he appeared to pass Taco Charlton in more ways than one.

With the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2019 season thin at under tackle, it’s likely Tyrone Crawford will see more time inside and less time at end. That, combined with Taco’s incompetence, should provide a major opportunity for Armstrong to take that next step.

How much should we expect?

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It’s tough to say because we didn’t see much in his only NFL season. But Dorance Armstrong’s physical attributes, athleticism, and game greatly resembles Tank Lawrence’s  early years . Not to say Armstrong is the second coming of Tank, but he does have well-rounded skills that can develop into a starting defensive end.

This is going to be an important season for Armstrong.

Scouts loved the pick when the Dallas Cowboys first added him and the opportunity appears to finally be there for the second year edge man to make himself known to Cowboys Nation.

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If Armstrong can establish himself he could be a great rotational piece this coming season for the Dallas Cowboys, and a whole lot more down the road.

  • Published on 02/18/2019 at 13:01 PM
  • Last updated at 02/14/2019 at 15:11 PM