Dallas Cowboys: Pass rush depth needs answers

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys over the past few years has had trouble consistently getting to the quarterback. The only player to really be consistent getting pressure has been DeMarcus Lawrence. Randy Gregory has shown some ability as well, but that is when he is actually on the field, which should be more often in 2021. The team has brought in some guys over the past few years to help, but most of the work still fell upon Lawrence.

Teams have decided to focus on Lawrence and the Cowboys have been unable to adjust and provide more help. Going back to watch the Cowboys play, a lot of the sacks and pressure have been because Lawrence has forced quarterbacks to step into another player. Gregory has been the hope on the other side and with a rule change regarding marijuana, Gregory should be available for an entire season.

The question for the Dallas Cowboys isn’t really Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence, it’s what’s behind them.

We have all heard that the Cowboys want to use Micah Parsons as an edge, but how much and in what role is still an unknown. Should Lawrence and Gregory have to take some time off, pass rush depth should be a huge question at this time? With very little proven pass-rush depth behind them, the Cowboys could choose to blitz more, or hopefully, someone will develop and step up.

Looking at defensive end depth the most prolific pass rusher that has played meaningful NFL snaps is Terrell Basham with 7.5 sacks in his career and a 3.5 sack 2020. Carlos Watkins, Brent Urban (who many feels will be a defensive tackle), and Dorance Armstrong are not really meant to be pass rush specialists but run stoppers. That leaves two young players to prove they can be the pass rush depth.

Bradlee Anae and rookie Chauncey Golston are the two players the Cowboys will need to step up. Anae did not play more than a handful of snaps in 2020, with rumors that he was a scout pick and not a coach pick. This left Anae on the sidelines as the coaches refused to play him or how the story goes. Anae had 13 sacks in his final year at college and was seen as a viable pass-rushing defensive end for a team that needed help. Golston had 5.5 sacks in his final year of college and was ascending as a defensive end.

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However, once you look at the depth, the question really is where the pressure will be coming from. Using Parsons will help, but the Cowboys do not have the proven pass-rush specialists on the defensive line past Lawrence and Gregory. This leads many to believe the Cowboys will utilize more blitzing and less reliance on the front four to be the only way to generate pressure.

Next. Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster prediction (if Dallas plays it safe). dark

As we approach training camp, looking for defensive end depth will be huge as the Cowboys are rebuilding their defense. I think if Anae can show ability this year to get pressure, he is going to be on the roster. A new scheme, new players, and a little bit of luck will be huge for defensive success in 2021, and it will start up front.