If you paid somewhat close attention to the Dallas Cowboys over the past several years, then you know all too well that they haven’t really invested very much in their defensive line. From the outside looking in, it seems as if they just don’t value the guys in the trenches on the defensive side of the ball. But luckily, that could be changing.
The Dallas Cowboys have quietly built a pretty solid DL, and it has the potential to be something really special in 2018.
You could say that a healthy DeMarcus Lawrence is the main reason for an improved defensive line heading into 2018, and you’d probably be right. Lawrence finally lived up to his potential last year and was one of the best pass rushing defensive ends in the entire NFL.
Lawrence has always been a good run defender, but when a DE is equally good at both, it’s difficult for opposing offenses to scheme ways to eliminate them. He has become the “War Daddy” the Dallas Cowboys have been searching for since DeMarcus Ware left.
Of course, Lawrence wasn’t the only player to blow things up in 2017. The Dallas Cowboys had another player along the DL who finished ranked among the best defensive tackles in the NFL, David Irving.
David Irving isn’t built like a traditional defensive tackle, but the fact that he finished ranked among the best and only played in eight games last season tells you all you need to know. He was a disruptive force getting after the QB from the interior of the Cowboys defensive line and should be able to pick up right where he left off.
With DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, the Dallas Cowboys defensive line already looks as if it could be scary good this season. But, it’s the depth behind them that improves the odds of this unit becoming something special.
Taco Charlton, last year’s first-round draft pick, showed a lot of improvement over the season last year and finished on a high note. If he can continue to progress, he could earn a starting role or at the very least be a good rotational piece.
Then there’s the possibility of Randy Gregory rejoining the Cowboys. He can’t really be counted on right now and there is no way of knowing what to expect since he’s been away from the game so long, but he has the potential to be a difference maker.
But, that’s not all. The Dallas Cowboys recently signed Kony Ealy to add even more depth to the defensive line. Ealy is full of untapped potential and the hope is that it will finally be released this season. Who better to bring out then Rod Marinelli?
The one area that could possibly take the Dallas Cowboys defensive line to the next level though is a truly dominating defensive tackle. They need more depth at the position, especially at the 1-technique. Maliek Collins filled in out of necessity last season, but it’s not his best position.
If the Dallas Cowboys were able to come away with someone like Vita Vea in the draft, a DT who demands double teams and can free up the linebackers behind him, it would completely transform the DL and the rest of the defense as well.