It is no surprise that the Dallas Cowboys are rebuilding their defense – A defense that has a lot of holes, including defensive end. Cowboys fans such as myself still think it is a dream but we need to wake up; Ware is gone!
Going into last season we had potentially one of the best Defensive Lines on paper and we had to watch it completely fall apart. We had a starting D-Line of Ware, Hatcher, Ratliff, and Spencer. We thought we knew what we would get from Ware as one of the best pass rushers of this decade, but he struggled to stay healthy and notched one of his worst seasons. Hatcher was one of the only bright spots on the D-Line; he really thrived under the new 4-3 scheme. We need to get the knife out of our back since he left us for the Washington Redskins last week. Ratliff is one of the mysteries that we will never fully understand. He never got on the field is the best way to put it and was a serviceable back up in Chicago after we cut him. Anthony Spencer was suppose to really benefit from the change, he had always seemed to be more of 4-3 fit rather than 3-4. Unfortunately he never saw the field and Dallas was forced to start waiver wire players all year just to get by. Dallas will be looking to add multiple defensive linemen throughout the draft. Lets take a look at a solid day 2 prospect.
Scott Crichton DE Oregon St. 6'2 3/4″ 273 lbs
- 40 time : 4.84 (official)
- Bench Reps: 24
- Vertical Jump: 31.5″
- 3 cone : 7.19 (Faster than Clowney)
Fit for the Dallas Cowboys:
Crichton is the ideal 4-3 Defensive End size and frame. He would be a great fit in the 4-3 Scheme on the outside. Crichton has shown the ability to play all over the Defensive line at Oregon St. While he was most effective when he was at End he also had moments where he proved he could be a penetrator in the 1 or 3 gaps. Crichton would immediately give Dallas a starter at the position. At this point looking at our roster that's not saying much but Crichton will be a productive starter for any team in the league.
Crichton has the perfect size, as mentioned earlier. That is what stands out to me on tape. He will hold his own in the trenches with anyone. Another area he excels at is his get-off-the-ball speed. He is very quick to get going, that is one reason he was at the top of the list at his position in the 3-cone drill which measures short area quickness. This sort of quickness is important to have for a defensive lineman because it creates the ability to make big plays. I saw two separate occasions where Crichton caught the offensive linemen being slow footed and he completely blew up the play with his quick first step. Specifically against Oregon in the 2nd half he was creating huge issues for the Oregon offense and almost won his team the game singe handily. Last thing I want to mention about Crichton is he's very strong when he gets underneath the offensive linemen. Multiple times I saw him get his bull-rush going and instantly put the offensive linemen on skates, collapsing the pocket on the quarterback.
Crichton is a solid football player but he does have some limitations. One thing that I notice from him is he doesn't have very good top-end speed. I have seen him unable to catch quarterbacks from the backside on multiple occasions and he is limited in his pass rushing moves. He has a solid bull-rush but if the offensive linemen is ready for that he is very limited in what he can do. His spin move is average at best and he usually does not try anything else after his first move. This leaves him stuck or blocked by the offensive linemen. I am not sure he can be an every play type of defensive end. He seemed to get tired in certain points of the games I scouted. In today's NFL it is normal for defensive linemen to have a rotation so that is not as important of a flaw as the previous two, but his motor is suspect.
Crichton could definitely help the Cowboys. I think he has the tools and work ethic to really become a solid starter in the league. He has quick hands and feet and if he can develop some more pass rushing moves, who knows how good he could be. Dallas should look to add him anywhere from the 2nd round or later.