After re-signing DeMarcus Lawrence and trading for Robert Quinn, the Dallas Cowboys have their starting defensive ends for the upcoming 2019 season. The depth at the position behind them though is completely up in the air, making DE a potential “need” in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
Tyrone Crawford is aging and entering the last year of his contract. Randy Gregory is suspended indefinitely. Taco Charlton has yet to develop and is looking like a potential first-round bust. And don’t forget about Dorance Armstrong. He is entering his second year in the league and made a minimal impact as a rookie. The Dallas Cowboys will surely be eyeing the DE position in the draft in the hopes of finding some depth at some point, but where?
Let’s take a look at a few potential defensive end prospects the Cowboys could target in each round…
L.J. Collier, TCU
L.J. Collier is someone Rod Marinelli and the Dallas Cowboys have shown an interest in. They were in attendance at his Pro Day, and worked him out during “Dallas Day” for local prospects. He was a one-yekr starter at TCU, playing primarily on the right side. He sets a strong edge and plays with a relentless motor. He would likely be a rotational piece as a rookie with the versatility to play defense end or kick inside to the three-technique, and has the upside to develop into a starter down the road.
Christian Miller, Alabama
Christian Miller was one of the Dallas Cowboys allotted 30 pre-draft visitors and someone I’ve been pretty high on myself. I think he could play either SAM linebacker or right side defensive end in the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme. He was only a part-time starter during his time at Alabama because of being buried on the depth chart and some unfortunate injuries, but he has the skill set and upside to start in the NFL.
Anthony Nelson, Iowa
Anthony Nelson was a two-year starter at left defensive end in Iowa’s 4-3 defensive scheme. His game is all about power and using his length to put opposing offensive lineman on their heels. He is a stiff athlete and doesn’t have the speed to consistently beat tackles around the edge, but his relentless approach wears them down throughout the game. He projects as a base DE with the potential to kick inside to 3-tech in the NFL and that’s likely where he would play with the Dallas Cowboys.
Ben Banogu, TCU
Ben Banogu, like his teammate L.J. Collier, is someone the Cowboys have shown a pretty high interest in. He was a two-year starter at TCU and played both standing up and with his hand in the dirt on the left side in their four-man front. He is one of the more athletic DE prospects in this year’s draft class, but needs time to develop nearly every aspect of his game. He has the ability to play both in space or in the trenches, and could be good rotational depth and a special teams ace as a rookie for the Cowboys.
Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan
Maxx Crosby is a small school prospect who fits the criteria the Dallas Cowboys look for in their defensive ends. In fact, they even had him in for a workout. He was a two-year starter at Eastern Michigan, playing left DE in their four-man front. He is a relentless pass rusher whose motor never quits, but right now is a liability in the run game. He is all arms and legs and needs a year or two in an NFL strength and conditioning program to develop more physically, but he has starting potential.
John Cominsky, Charleston
John Cominsky is another small school prospect who the Dallas Cowboys have shown an interest in. He was another pre-draft visit for the Cowboys and someone who has the skill set to play a variety of roles along the defensive line. He was a four-year starter at Charleston and played inside and out along their defensive line in a 4-3 defensive scheme. He has rare athleticism for his size and the strength to hold up in the NFL, but the jump in competition is a concern. He may need some seasoning before he can be relied upon.
Austin Bryant, Clemson
Austin Bryant was a two-year starter at Clemson, playing left defensive end in their talented four-man front. He is better as a pass rusher then he is against the run at this point in his career. He explodes out of his stance, whether standing up or with his hand in the dirt, and surprises offensive tackles with his quickness in the passing game. Unfortunately, he’s very inconsistent as a run defender. He Needs to improve his contact balance and power in order to be counted on at the next level.
Jalen Jelks, Oregon
Jalen Jelks was a two-year starter at Oregon and played all over the place in their 3-4 defensive front. He has the skill set the Dallas Cowboys look for in their defensive end prospects and that’s what teams are looking for at this point in the draft. He has the flexibility, length, and relentless motor to become an effective pass rusher in the NFL, but really needs to get into the weight room to add some muscle to his frame so he can become more reliable at the point of attack.
Shareef Miller, Penn State
Shareef Miller was a two-year starter at Penn State and played left defensive end in their 4-3 defensive front. He has the tools to become an every down DE, but is a bit of a one trick pony right now. If he can’t win with the initial quickness, his pass rush typically gets stalled out. He needs to further develop his technique and pass rushing repertoire, but he has the prototypical DE body type and relentless motor to grow into a starting caliber base end.
Darryl Johnson Jr., North Carolina A&T
Darryl Johnson Jr. was was a two-year starter at North Carolina A&T. He played in a multitude of defensive fronts during his time with the Aggies and has the versatility to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme in the NFL. He is a rangy player with long, flexible strides to capture the edge as a DE, but unfortunately doesn’t play with much power. He could be nothing more than a developmental prospect, but he has intriguing intangibles worth developing.