Unpeeling the layers of the (potentially elite) Dallas Cowboys pass rush

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: DeMarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys . (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: DeMarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys . (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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SEATTLE, WA – JANUARY 07: Defensive tackle Kerry Hyder #61of the Detroit Lions chases down quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

Third Tier Pass-Rushers

Tyrone Crawford

For the past four seasons Cowboys Nation has been trying to replace Tyrone Crawford and for the past four (three at the least), Craw has proven to be the second best defensive lineman on the team.

Crawford’s stats aren’t going to blow anyone away. He’s never posted more than 5.5 sacks in a season and his 3.7 per season average were not what the Dallas Cowboys were expecting of him when they signed him to that $45 million extension four years back.

But Crawford is valuable in other ways and his presence allows Dallas to get extremely creative when building their various “NASCAR packages”. He can play inside or outside at a moment’s notice. He can play every snap, rotate snaps, cover injuries, provide breathers, and situationally rotate in order to exploit match-ups. He’s an important chess piece for Rod Marinelli and can run stunts and games with the best of them – making him extra important on this stunt-happy defense.

Kerry Hyder

Not much is known of Hyder at this point in his Dallas Cowboys career because he has yet to play a meaningful snap. Signed in the offseason as a DE/DT flex player, Hyder is expected to serve in a role similar to Crawford’s.

Playing out of position in Detroit’s 3-4 as of late, Hyder’s addition has been largely over looked. In 2016 when he was playing his natural spot in a 4-3, Hyder actually lead the team in sacks when he collected eight. At only 28 years of age, Dallas hopes to put him position to regain that success here in 2019.

Whether he ultimately plays more inside or outside doesn’t really matter since both spots play more 1-gap here in Dallas than the 2-gap he had to play back in the Motor City.