Earlier this week, the Dallas Cowboys appeared to have signed Randy Gregory to a multi-year contract, but at the last minute, things took a turn. Instead, the pass rusher opted to take his services up north to the Denver Broncos. As a result of this strange turn of events, Dallas now has a gaping hole at edge rusher. Maybe pulling some strings to draft Jermaine Johnson would alleviate that loss.
By pulling strings, I'm insinuating that Jerry Jones might have to work some magic to move up in April's NFL draft. According to Pro Football Network's mock simulator, the possibility exists that Johnson falls into the Cowboys' lap with the 24th selection. However, this means Dallas would essentially be throwing up a prayer and hoping this comes to fruition. Or Jones can accept that his defense needs a vaunted pass rusher like Johnson and makes a move.
What would it take for the Cowboys to land Jermaine Johnson?
Hoping Johnson falls isn't exactly a strategy but looking to move up in the draft certainly is. If you look at national mocks, specifically those from CBS Sports, Johnson is slated to fall between the 12th and 15th selections, with either the Minnesota Vikings or Philadelphia Eagles drafting the much-heralded defensive end.
The question then becomes if Jones is willing to part with this year's second or third round choices in a package to move up. The other option would involve next year's picks. Jones has proven to be aggressive in the past, but the team has several holes that need to be addressed, from the offensive line to wide receiver to defensive back and linebacker.
Johnson immediately upgrades the Cowboys' pass rush
Whether Johnson is in play come April will depend on how the aforementioned needs line up on Dallas's big board. If Johnson is indeed available at 24, the Cowboys must pounce on the former Florida State Seminole. Using a stop-gap solution such as Dante Fowler or even Jason Pierre-Paul won't cut it in the long run, and it'll simply be a case of putting a band-aid on a bigger issue.
Regardless, Johnson is one of the most versatile defensive prospects that'll be available in April. As the league continues to use adaptable defensive linemen, Johnson would be a complete package, able to play in coverage defending the pass, in the middle with his hands in the dirt, and, of course, run circles around offensive tackles.
Johnson would come into the NFL with a polished game and he wouldn't solely be a pass rusher; he plays with a mean streak in the run game. Pro Football Focus grades him 79.2 in that department. He consistently beat double teams in college and, with that high motor of his, was still able to get to the quarterback.
Essentially, Dan Quinn could line up Johnson anywhere and he'd find a way to make a play. It definitely sounds like someone worth making a move over.