Building a Roster: Projecting the Dallas Cowboys final-53 man roster

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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Dorance Armstrong #92 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys: Defensive Line (10)

DeMarcus Lawrence, Gerald McCoy, Aldon Smith, Randy Gregory, Dontari Poe, Tyrone Crawford, Dorance Armstrong, Bradley Anae, Antwaun Woods, Neville Gallimore

Here’s where the real battle is on the Dallas Cowboys this season. There are considerably more good D-linemen than there are positions, meaning a couple good players ain’t gonna make the cut. Assuming Randy Gregory is reinstated (which we can reasonably do), defensive end is a particularly crowded group.

Complicating matters is how often the Cowboys use an odd man front in 2020. The teams has been clear they expect to primarily be a 4-3 defense, but they kept the door open for 3-4 (and 3-3-5) looks. Additionally, DeMarcus Lawrence has spoken about his consultations with DeMarcus Ware and transitioning to a 2-point stance. It seems there’s validity to the idea we’ll be seeing multiple looks from this squad next season.

Why does that matter?

Because different skill sets are required for different fronts. Will the ends play 5-technique in an odd man front or will they play some 4i? Will they be asked to 2-gap or will that be reserved for defensive tackle play. All of these questions must be answered before we really know the value of this bunch.

For instance, Joe Jackson could hold extra value depending on what the Cowboys do scheme-wise as a front.

At this point we shouldn’t get too radical with our ideas. We should operate under the premise changes will be minimal in Year 1, but we will see pass-rushers coming from a 2-point stance.

Defensive tackle is cut and dried: Gerald McCoy and Neville Gallimore will be your 3-technique interior pass-rushers. Dontari Poe and Antwaun Woods (who, BTW, has yet to sign his tender) are at the 1-tech. And last year’s top pick Trysten Hill is on the outside looking in.