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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LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 12: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams attempts a pass while being pressured by Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Depth and the X-Factor

Taco Charlton

Like him or or not, Taco Charlton was a first round pick for a reason. He’s never going to be the unstoppable war daddy DeMarcus Lawrence is, but he never was supposed to be. Standing 6’6″ 270lbs, Taco has the size and length to still develop into a solid starter in this league. The main thing standing in his way is his attitude.

To even expect six sacks from Taco in 2019 is probably unrealistic. Unless there’s an injury, the opportunities just won’t be there. Taco will be tasked with being as productive as possible on limited snap basis, and that may ultimately come down to playing inside in nickel packages.

Trysten Hill

Hill makes the list because he’s clearly talented but as a rookie he’s completely unknown. Rookies rarely make much of an impact their first year (making Maliek Collins’ rookie season so impressive) and with so much depth on their roster, the Dallas Cowboys don’t need to force snaps on him.

But if Hill makes an impression in training camp, Rod Marinelli won’t hesitate to give him playing time. The defensive line is a meritocracy and opportunities are there for the taking is someone earns it.

Antwuan Woods

It seems odd to include a 1-technique defensive tackle on the pass-rushing list but Antwuan Woods is not your normal 1-tech. The 318 lbs trashcan of dirt has abnormal explosion and movement for a man his size and even at 1-tech he’ll get plenty of opportunities to 1-gap and penetrate.

Related Story. Understanding the defensive techniques. light

The X-Factor

Jaylon Smith

Often overlooked in Jaylon Smith’s vast and elite skillset, is his abilities as a pass-rusher. Considered one of the best pass-rushing linebackers in college football back in 2015, Jaylon was used as a pass-rusher a variety of ways: He blitzed up the middle, he blitzed around the edge, and he even took the line and rushed like defensive end.

Now two-seasons removed from his catastrophic knee injury, Smith has regained nearly all of the explosion, movement, and strength that once made him that dominant pass-rusher in college. He also gives Dallas coaches an extra special weapon to use in their pass rush schemes in 2019.

Just like at Notre Dame, Jaylon can rush from anywhere on the field. He come in and play the RDE in nickel NASCAR rushing packages. He can also be a blitzer up the middle from the MIKE spot, or shift over to on certain downs as a SAM and take the edge.

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NASCAR (nickel pass-rush)

As mentioned before, the NASCAR package (pass-rushing package) has nearly endless combinations for Rod Marinelli to play with. Crawford and Lawrence can man the middle with Quinn and Gregory outside. Or possibly Hyder and Lawrence inside while Gregory and Jaylon man the edges.

Dallas can even drop someone into coverage and send Jaylon around the same edge as Gregory. Can you imagine a left tackle dealing with both Jaylon and Gregory burning/countering around the same edge? Truly a sight to behold.

Given the talent and the depth on this Dallas pass-rush, the only limitations for this group are that of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff’s creativity.

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The 2019 Dallas Cowboys pass-rush isn’t just talented and deep, but they have the ability to be downright dominant this season.