The Dallas Cowboys defensive line depth is being tested this training camp with notable players missing. DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Randy Gregory have been out for the entirety of training camp and it remains to be seen when they’ll return. Robert Quinn will be out for some time after suffering a fractured right hand in Tuesday’s practice. All of those absences at the defensive end position have created opportunities for others.
One player who has been showing out quite regularly in training camp is Defensive End Dorance Armstrong. Last week during the team’s individual pass-rush drills, Armstrong beat All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith with a nasty counter spin move.
From earlier in the day Dorance Armstrong beats Tyron Smith. https://t.co/N2MrKUIW8T
Then Tuesday, the second-year player added another starting tackle to his ledger in La’el Collins with this outstanding rush in the compete period.
Dorance Armstrong vs. La’el Collins https://t.co/Wf6I7JGL3J
If you haven’t noticed a theme yet, Dorance Armstrong is good. Here, he gets La’el Collins with a fake spin move.
Armstrong’s efforts have vaulted him ahead of former first-round pick Taco Charlton. In the last couple days of practice, Dorance Armstrong has received the first-team reps at left defensive end, where Charlton had been filling in for DeMarcus Lawrence. Now with Quinn out, Armstrong may see reps at both defensive end spots with the first-team defense.
Though a lot of players are missing that might otherwise be ahead of Armstrong on the depth chart, he’s been excellent all offseason. Even if Lawrence, Gregory, Crawford, and Quinn were available, Armstrong’s offseason performance has earned him snaps against the first team. However they’ve come, he’s making them count. Aside from Maliek Collins, there isn’t a player on the defensive line that has been as good as Armstrong has through the first couple weeks of training camp.
In his rookie year, Armstrong had a really nice camp and even played well at the start of the 2018 season, but wasn’t able to maintain that level of play. Heading into his second season, he’s been one of the best players throughout the OTAs, minicamp, and now training camp and his stock continues to rise.
DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn are still your starting defensive ends once they’re available. However, Dorance Armstrong is going to force the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to find him a substantial role in 2019. With Quinn only signed through the 2019 season and Gregory still under an indefinite suspension from the NFL, it’s very likely that Armstrong is your starting right defensive end in 2020.
The Dallas Cowboys scouts and front office decision-makers continue to hit home runs in the draft and Dorance Armstrong is just another in a long line of mid to late-round selections that have blossomed for the Cowboys. Armstrong is trending in the right direction and if he can continue this trajectory will be a tremendous asset for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 and beyond.