The defensive line has really lacked any kind of dominant force ever since DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas Cowboys decided to part ways a view seasons ago. The lack of talent along the DL has really limited their ability to find success on the defensive side of the ball, but it’s starting to look as if that might just be a thing of the past.
There is of course still a lot of football to play in 2017, but the play of both DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving has really provided a spark to the Cowboys pass rush. Lawrence is on pace to finish the season with 25 quarterback sacks, which is really impressive for a guy who has had two back surgeries and never finished with double QB sacks in a season. But, I think the play of David Irving might just be more impressive.
David Irving of course had to sit out the first four games of the 2017 season while he served his suspension for testing positive for PED’s. No one really knew exactly where he would fit on defense, but one thing was for sure, just about everybody wanted to see him receive more playing time.
Since returning from his four-game suspension, David Irving has been playing on the interior of the Dallas Cowboys defensive line at both the 1-tech and the 3-tech. I don’t think it’s jumping the gun at all to suggest that he has found his home at defensive tackle. In fact, he might just be playing like one of the best DTs in the entire NFL right now.
In two games, David Irving has accumulated 3 QB sacks, 8 tackles (1 TFL), 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Those numbers alone would put him among some of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. In fact, they almost exactly mirror what Aaron Donald is accomplished in six games.
Aaron Donald as we all know is regarded as one of the best defensive tackles in the entire NFL. Donald has played in six games this season after ending his holdout, and he has accumulated 3 QB sacks, 16 tackles, and 1 forced fumble. That’s only eight more tackles then David Irving, despite playing four more games.
Now, I completely understand there is still a lot of football to play, but David Irving finds himself among elite company right now with the way he’s playing. If he can continue to play at this high level, it could really take the Dallas Cowboys defense to another level. Everybody would benefit from having both Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence wreaking havoc.
The only problem is, we have seen this from David Irving in the past. He will be completely dominant one game, and then disappear the next. Consistency has always been his problem, but hopefully he has overcome that and is finally living up to his potential.
David Irving may be among the elite defensive tackles right now according to the stats, but he really needs to keep it up through the entire season before he is linked to players like Aaron Donald. The talent is certainly there, but it’s all about putting it together on a consistent basis. If he can do that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make his first Pro Bowl.