The 53-man roster is always a numbers crunch. This year for the Dallas Cowboys, it’s especially true looking at the defensive line. Based on previous rosters, the Cowboys are likely to keep the D-line capped at 10. That means good players may find themselves on the outside looking in.
The area within the defensive line that we’re looking at today is at the 1-technique defensive tackle. The 1-tech DT is a player who aligns on the shoulder of the center covering the A-gap. Depending on the scheme that player is often responsible for 2-gap, holding/pushing the middle of the pocket, and/or generally being a plugger.
Rather than shooting gaps and making splash plays in the backfield, the 1-tech facilities for his line mates.
Traditionally, the Dallas Cowboys don’t invest a ton of resources here. Dallas values lateral movement in their interior linemen so they often keep more players with 3-tech ability than those who play 1-tech only. Guys like Neville Gallimore blur the lines since he’s often used as a 1-tech but had 3-tech ability and strong lateral ability.
Guys like Quinton Bohanna and John Ridgeway don’t have that same multi-functional ability. So we ask…
Is there room on the Dallas Cowboys roster for redundant pieces like Quinton Bohanna and John Ridgeway?
Let’s first take a moment to see what the numbers on the outside look like. DeMarcus Lawrence, Sam Williams, and Dorance Armstrong are locks. Chauncey Golston is likely safe too. Tarell Basham was a vital player at DE and DT last season, so he’s probably safe. That puts the count at five, knowing Micah Parsons will also take some important snaps at EDGE this year.
With five spots to fill inside (and in this count, that’s because we cut Dante Fowler who’s a bit of a redundant piece –see also article below for full explanation), things get tricky.
Neville is the starting 1-tech and Osa Odighizuwa is the starting 3-tech. Carlos Watkins was re-signed in the offseason after a good showing in 2021 where he played DT as well as DE. With these three, that leaves two roster spots for the Trysten Hill, John Ridgeway, Quinton Bohanna, Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant, Austin Faoliu, and Josiah Bronson to fight over.
Hill has the most talent in the bunch but he’s been a disappointment thus far in his Cowboys career. He has the explosion, size, and quickness to be another Neville Gallimore, so he’s the most ideal candidate. But he’s playing on borrowed time.
Bohanna and Ridgeway are pluggers and run-stoppers who don’t offer much by ways of pass-rush or lateral pursuit. They fill an important need but it’s a trait the Dallas Cowboys don’t value extraordinarily highly which means whichever one ranks second in this competition, will be on the bubble.
Do both make it?
I think so, but this isn’t as obvious as some may have you think. And if you want to make room for Dante Fowler, that only makes the number crunch even tighter.
The Dallas Cowboys love versatile defensive linemen who can used up and down the line. Bohanna and Ridgeway aren’t that, which means keeping both should not be seen as forgone conclusion.