The Dallas Cowboys' need to address the defensive end position has been one of the loudest topics in Cowboys Nation so far this off season. However, positional needs on the offensive side of the ball cannot be ignored either, and with the depth chart across the defensive line being relatively full (lacking in talent, but certainly not in numbers) it is a real possibility that this team will look to “bargain shop” once again when it comes to adding a DE in the 2017 NFL Draft. If this is the case, Michigan defensive end Chris Wormley should be near the top of the Cowboys' radar after the first round.
Watching Chris Wormley as I put together this complete scouting report at Slant Sports, my initial impressions were far from great. I saw a rusher with some above average traits at first, but one with a real lack of speed and bend – a major concern when it comes to projecting a pass rusher in the NFL.
As I continued to study though, these desirable traits from Wormley continued to jump off the page on almost every snap, leading me to compare his college production and 2017 Draft value to now San Diego Chargers' DE Joey Bosa.
While not nearly on the same level as a complete defensive end, Wormley's college film reminds me a lot of Joey Bosa's from a season ago. Rarely making the flashy plays, Wormley finds ways to make an impact with often overwhelming strength and consistent power off the line of scrimmage.
Wormley isn't going to be Dallas' new Charles Haley, but he could be a highly effective left defensive end in Rod Marinelli's scheme. With some of the strongest and heaviest hands of any prospect I've studied so far this draft season, Wormley wins against tackles with his bull rush and never misses tackles around the ball.
Ideally, Chris Wormley will find ways to rush offensive tackles down the middle a lot less as he progresses, but for now he can still overpower them…
While you certainly don't want to play Chris Wormley as a full-time defensive tackle, he does easily convert his strength and power to beat guards at the point of attack, and can even slide all the way down the line to make some impact rushing wide as a right defensive end.
Wormley's ability as a willing tackler jumps off his tape when you see him get caught with his pad height too high far too often – although this rarely deters him from using his incredibly strong base and long arms to finish at the ball carrier.
This is the type of player that Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli loves, not just because of his versatility but for his work ethic, off-the-charts strength, and workable upside as a pass rushing threat.
Rushing tackles right down the middle is a hard way to be effective in the highest level of football, and Chris Wormley also does not show ideal bend to deal with this in any way that's not just a projection for the next level.
There certainly is still a real possibility that the Cowboys go ahead and use their first round pick on a premier defensive end to get after the quarterback, but whether they do or not, Chris Wormley could become an incredibly valuable piece to this defensive line's puzzle with later round value – earning a second round grade on my 2017 NFL Draft board.