Rookie Chauncey Golston has only been practicing for a few weeks and yet to be active for his first NFL game. But the defensive end just might debut for the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and other injuries could put him in a position to make an impact against the Philadelphia Eagles.
A hamstring injury put Chauncey on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp. He remained there throughout August, missing all four preseason games and lots of practice work. Golston passed a physical and joined the active roster as Dallas was making its final cuts.
The rookie had to be worked back in after missing so much time, not practicing fully in Week 1 and being inactive for the season opener. Though he did practice in full pads last week, Chauncey again didn't dress for the Chargers game.
Now he's not even showing on the Week 3 injury report. And that's good, because some other important defensive linemen are.
— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) September 23, 2021
Mike McCarthy is hopeful that Cowboys rookie DE Chauncey Golston can make his debut Monday night. He practiced in pads last week for the first time. “He really looked good (in practice). Looked like he was ready to go. I hope he builds off last week’s work.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 23, 2021
These issues are on top of the absence of DeMarcus Lawrence, who broke his foot last week in practice and will likely be out until midseason. Though Randy Gregory is back from COVID and Micah Parsons has emerged as a pass rushing option, Dallas still needs worthy players in that DE rotation.
Given how much work he's missed over the summer, Golston's ability to be an immediate contributor is dubious. But it is encouraging to see how quickly his fellow 3rd-rounder, Osa Odighizuwa, has become a top performer among the defensive tackles.
Where Chauncey can hopefully help immediately is in run defense and early downs. That's where Lawrence was a star as one of the top-graded run stoppers in all of the NFL. That's was also Golston's advertised strength when he was drafted.
If Golston can be an effective player against the run and take those snaps, it helps keep Gregory and Parsons fresh to go get the quarterback in passing downs.
You're probably not going to look at the box score on Tuesday and think that Chauncey had a big game. But if he can handle a workload and facilitate for teammates without being a liability, that would be a huge contribution from the rookie.
The Cowboys will need help from everyone on Monday night in what should be a tense game against the rival Eagles. It's a high-pressure situation for anyone to make their debut, but it's also a great opportunity for Chauncey Golston to introduce himself and remind everyone was why he was a Day Two draft pick.