Dallas Cowboys Ron’Dell Carter: The dark horse D-linemen to watch in ’21

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys entered the offseason with one heckuva to-do list on their hands. Not only did they need to retool the secondary, but they needed to fix one of the worst defensive lines in franchise history.

To do this they needed multiple avenues in which to improve. They needed rookie reinforcements like Osa Odighizuwa, Chauncey Golston, and Quinton Bohanna. But they also needed free agent signings like Brent Urban and Tarell Basham. But one bit player who’s already on the roster could also play a role in the defensive line’s improvement in 2021. That man is Ron’Dell Carter.

Ron’Dell Carter could play a role in turning this Dallas Cowboys defensive line around in 2021.

Let’s be perfectly clear here: in the hierarchy of talent, Ron’Dell Carter ranks pretty low on the ‘ol depth chart. Guys like DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, and Brent Urban are light years ahead of him and it would take nothing short of a miracle for Carter to even pass guys like Neville Gallimore or Osa on the prospect list.

But the defensive lineman from James Madison shouldn’t be disregarded either. Just because he wasn’t a draft pick doesn’t mean the Dallas Cowboys don’t have big things planned for their second-year lineman.

Ron’Dell Carter, 6-foot-3 and 269 lbs. is a fairly averaged sized linemen. Yet, he’s shown the ability to play both inside and outside in the reps he’s had with the Dallas Cowboys. Carter is an accomplished pass-rusher, logging 23.5 sacks throughout his college career with 12 of them coming in his last year alone.

The Dallas Cowboys were so impressed with his potential ceiling in the pros, they paid him $20K signing bonus with 145k as a guaranteed pay last year (the most they offered anyone in 2020).

Carter fits the bill as a Dallas Cowboys prospect. He’s a hard worker with long arms, powerful hands, and a well-rounded game. Carter isn’t just focused on turning the corner and racking up sacks, he’s equally as focused on stopping the run. His 12 sacks in 2019 may get all the attention, but his 27 tackles for loss speak to ability to do it all.

One may assume that coming from James Madison, Carter is raw and needs extra developmental time. But Carter is actually pretty well versed in his hand work and pass-rush moves. He rushes the passer with a plan and is a student of the game.

Last year, he didn’t exactly hit the ground running. He’s not a naturally explosive athlete and needed to get into an NFL the strength and weight program. Late in the season, after re-claiming him from the Colts, he eventually saw action in Dallas, logging 26 snaps.

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Ron’Dell Carter didn’t jump off the screen or even turn heads in his limited action, but he got a taste and that can go a long way in offering up a successful offseason (sadly, that same opportunity wasn’t given to Bradlee Anae, another player we’re hoping to see progression from in 2021).

Ron’Dell Carter isn’t going to push starters for snaps. That’s not on his current career arch and unreasonable for a second-year undrafted free agent. In fact, he’s a fringe roster guy who will be fighting for his very existence on the Dallas Cowboys roster. But that doesn’t make him irrelevant and not worth knowing. Carter is exactly what this franchise loves in a player and he has versatility and a track record of success to boot.

light. Must Read. Who was better in 2020: Jaylon or Leighton?

Next. Free Agent Signing Brent Urban to Transform the Dallas Defense. dark

Don’t be surprised if Ron’Dell Carter makes the team. Don’t be surprised if this rarely discussed second-year guy from a small school gets on the field. Don’t be surprised if he proves to be a nice little asset in this defensive line rotation.

  • Published on 06/18/2021 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 06/17/2021 at 19:42 PM