Dallas Cowboys Draft Profile – Calijah Kancey, DT (pressure player)

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The Dallas Cowboys have a need for a defensive tackle, and while many would agree the primary need is for a more 1-technique style player, there are some intriguing defensive tackles that could help in the pass rush that is not quite in that traditional mold.

Calijah Kancey put on a show at the NFL Combine and vaulted into an early-round consideration. While the Cowboys don’t value defensive tackle (or haven’t), this year could see that change depending on how the draft falls. Kancey could be a player the Dallas Cowboys could have as BPA when they pick.

The hard part about projecting Kancey is how teams will see him. While he is more of a 3/5-technique defensive tackle, he may have some ability to play at the edge in certain alignments. His speed and agility are undeniable when watching him play. He will shoot gaps and be disruptive from the interior. While he isn’t of ideal length or strength there is a lot to like about him.

The Dallas Cowboys are probably in the market for defensive tackle help, and Calijah Kancey could help.

The upside to Kancey is not just his speed, but his reaction time and flexibility from the line’s interior. This allows him to quickly get to the edge of a block and shoot gaps. He has a good first step and a solid first punch.

He was willing to go up against offensive linemen who outweighed him and used his talents to work around them, rather than through them. He does recover well when knocked off-balance which helps him be a problem inside as he can sometimes recover after the offensive lineman.

For all of his speed and agility, power and length do show up which may ward some teams off. Larger offensive linemen who get their hands on him can cause him to struggle to disengage. He has to be more technically sound on every rep due to this mismatch in size.

How this will impact him at the next level with bigger and faster linemen in the NFL will be questioned by some teams. He could find some reps on the edge of some sets and his ability to use speed and hit gaps from the outside could be a boost, but setting an edge could be a bit of a problem until he adds some strength.

Kancey fits for an aggressive defense, which Dan Quinn does like to have. His potential is high and if he can show the ability to move both inside and outside, he could be picked early. While some teams may want more run-stopping, his flashes of penetration to disrupt rushing attacks will intrigue.

He may not be exactly what the Dallas Cowboys need, but he may be what they want. Some have Kancey in the first, some in the second, but after his combine, anything lower than the second seems like a miss.