The Dallas Cowboys defensive line is absolutely loaded with useful talent meaning some very good players aren’t going to make the final roster
The Dallas Cowboys had a slow start to the offseason. They once again resisted the urge to dive into free agency early, choosing instead to bargain shop in the latter portions. They proceeded to make a couple modest, but solid, signings when they brought in Kerry Hyder (a do-it-all defensive linemen resembling Tyrone Crawford) and Christian Covington (a proven run-stopper capable of manning the 1-tech).
They followed it up by trading for the pedigreed Robert Quinn and drafting Trysten Hill, Joe Jackson, and Jalen Jelks. Now the Dallas Cowboys find themselves with an embarrassment of riches as they have more talent on the roster than spots available.
D-Law and Quinn are locks. Gregory is also a lock to make the team but he’s currently suspended and may start the season on the suspended list (will not count against the roster if he’s serving suspension).
This is probably Taco’s last chance and if he doesn’t look good in camp, he may get cut loose. Armstrong is a promising player in his second year, but like Taco, he’s going to have to earn it.
The rookies Jackson and Jelks are Day 3 picks and since there isn’t room for both, at best they’ll be duking it out for the last roster spot on the line (don’t be shocked if Jelks beats out Jackson or if neither make the team).
DT is really divided into two categories: 1-tech and 3-tech. Woods and Covington are likely to be the primary 1-techs next season so their roster spots seem pretty secure. Collins and Hill are both locks to make the team as 3-techs.
Daniel Wise is thought of more highly than your typical undrafted free agent. Most scouting services pegged him as a fourth round talent and the Cowboys consider themselves fortunate to have signed him in the post-draft frenzy.
Wise will be given a shot to earn a roster spot and if he proves he can play, they’ll probably find a way to make room.
Tyrone Crawford and Kerry Hyder
Despite underwhelming stats, Crawford has proven to be a valuable asset. His ability to play well at three different positions has helped the Dallas Cowboys deal with numerous injuries and suspensions over the years and the 2019 season will be no different.
Like Craw, Hyder comes to Dallas with position flex to his name. Coming off a down year and being new to the team, many are unsure what Hyder is going to bring the rotation this year. He may be nothing more than an insurance policy for all we know.
How many spots available?
The number of defensive linemen the Dallas Cowboys keep on the final roster each year varies from season to season. As Bobby Belt points out below, Dallas has kept anywhere from eight to 11 defensive linemen over the past five seasons.
Given the Cowboys track record and the positions depth, it’s likely the Dallas Cowboys will keep 10 or even 11 D-linemen in 2019.
Who makes the cut
Clearly this is premature since we haven’t had any worthwhile practicing to assess, but some promising players are sure to miss the final cut.
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If Tank, Quinn, and Gregory are locks on the edge, and Collins, Hill, Woods, and Covington are locks inside, and Craw is a lock as a swing lineman, that only leaves 2-3 spots for everyone else to fight over.
My best guess is Armstrong beats out Taco on the edge (winning in attitude, age, cost, and career arch) and Hyder is kept for his flex and overall competence. If the Cowboys go with 11, I think Daniel Wise wins out over Jelks and Jackson.
No matter how you look at it, it is likely drafted players are going to miss the final cut on the D-line even if the Dallas Cowboys go deep at the position group. Additionally, going 10 or 11 deep on the D-line will mean Dallas must go thin at other positions.
Navigating the unknown
Complicating matters is the uncertain status of Tyrone Crawford (involved in an offseason bar fight) and Randy Gregory (suspended for an indeterminate amount of time). If they start the season suspended, they will not count against the roster totals.
- Published on 05/19/2019 at 12:00 PM
- Last updated at 05/18/2019 at 12:41 PM