#94 Randy Gregory
Randy Gregory was born in Jacksonville, Florida on November 23, 1992. He played collegiate football as a Nebraska Cornhusker and is currently a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Randy Gregory spent his youth moving around seven or eight times before his family finally settled down in Indiana, where he attended high school at Hamilton Southeastern in Fishers, Indiana. While at Hamilton Southeastern, Gregory enjoyed a successful high school career on both the football field and the basketball court.
Growing up, Gregory mainly played on the offensive side of the ball as a running back, but he was switched to defensive end his sophomore season in high school. Randy Gregory had a breakout junior season at Hamilton Southeastern and recorded 92 tackles and 17 quarterback sacks. After his senior season, Gregory was considered one of the top 15 players in the entire state of Indiana and had numerous scholarship offers from colleges around the nation.
In addition to a plethora of scholarship offers for football, Randy Gregory also received several scholarships from Division I colleges to play basketball.
Randy Gregory initially committed to play college football at Purdue, but in what he describes as a bad case of “Senioritis” his grades began to slip. Which kept him from attending Purdue for academic reasons.
Due to Randy Gregory’s academic problems, he decided to continue his football career at Arizona Western Community College. As a freshman in 2011, Gregory accumulated 82 tackles, nine quarterback sacks, 21 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and two recovered fumbles.
Unfortunately, Gregory suffered a broken leg that pretty much wiped out his entire 2012 season. Despite this, Randy Gregory was still considered one of the top-10 JUCO prospects — regardless of position — and was regarded as one of the best junior college defensive end prospects in the nation.
Randy Gregory received scholarship offers from dozens of programs including Iowa, UCLA, Missouri, Arkansas, Oregon State, Washington, Illinois, and West Virginia. He visited Iowa State and Nebraska before ultimately deciding to continue his collegiate career as a Nebraska Cornhusker.
In his first year at Nebraska, Randy Gregory started 10 of 13 games. He reported 64 tackles, 10 ½ sacks, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown against South Dakota State. Gregory’s 10 ½ sacks led the Big Ten.
In 2014, Gregory had 50 tackles and seven sacks. Following his 2014 season, Gregory decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
Randy Gregory’s 2013 College Honors:
- National Sophomore Defensive Player of the Year (CollegeFootballNews.com)
- First-Team All-Big Ten (Coaches, Media, BTN)
- Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week (vs. Michigan)
- Most Sacks by a First-Year Husker
- Ted Hendricks Award Watch List (1 of 18)
- Nebraska Defensive MVP
Randy Gregory’s 2014 College Honors:
- Second-Team All-American (FWAA)
- Third-Team All-American (AP)
- First-Team All-Big Ten (Media, Coaches)
- Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List
- Lombardi Award Watch List
- Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalist (1 of 20)
- Nagurski Trophy Watch List
- Lott IMPACT Quarterfinalist (1 of 20)
- the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week (vs. Miami)
2015 NFL Draft
Randy Gregory was considered one of the best pass rushers available in the 2015 NFL Draft. His name even popped up as a potential #1 overall draft pick, but many draft analysts projected that he wouldn’t drop out of the top 10.
Unfortunately, Randy Gregory ended up failing the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine drug test, for marijuana, and his draft stock took a huge hit.
Gregory did not hear his name called on the first day of the 2015 NFL Draft and slipped out of the entire first round. He continued to slide in the second round until the Dallas Cowboys decided to use their second round pick (60th overall) to secure Randy Gregory’s services.
The failed drug test at the Scouting Combine for marijuana hurt his draft stock, but he was also being considered as part of the league’s substance abuse program. The next violation for substance abuse would mean a four-game suspension for Gregory.
Randy Gregory showed promise as a rookie during the Dallas Cowboys’ preseason. He recorded three quarterback sacks in three preseason games. In the season opener against the New York Giants, Gregory had three quarterback pressures in only 18 defensive snaps, but unfortunately, he suffered a high ankle sprain that would cause him to miss the next four games.
Gregory made his return to the field in Week 7 against the Giants, but the time away from the game really stunted his development. It wasn’t until Week 10 that Randy Gregory was finally able to register his first career tackle in the NFL, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He didn’t register a quarterback sack in the 2015 season, but managed 16 quarterback pressures (fourth on the team).
Randy Gregory will miss the first four games of the 2016 season under suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policies. He will have a lot to prove once he is able to return to the field in Week 5 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Randy Gregory is entering the second year of his rookie contract. The total value of Gregory’s contract is $3,814,936, but only $1,404,500 of that is fully guaranteed. Gregory will make an average of $953,734 per season. His contract makes him the 52nd highest paid out of 116 outside linebackers in the NFL.
Gregory’s base salary in 2016 is $608,406 and his cap hit will be $867,031. In 2017, Gregory’s base salary will be $781,812 and his cap number will be $1,040,437. In the final year of Gregory’s rookie contract in 2018 his base salary will be $955,218 and his cap hit will be $1,213,843. If Randy Gregory plays out his rookie contract, the Dallas Cowboys will then have to decide if they want to offer him a second contract or not.
LB Justin Phillips Making a Case to Become a Roster Lock With Cowboys
In Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys arguably have the best linebacker duo in the entire NFL. They also have some pretty solid backups in Sean Lee and Joe Thomas, but the depth behind those four is completely up in the air. That is excellent news for an undrafted LB like Justin Phillips.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy LB signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent after the completion of the 2019 NFL Draft. To go from being an Oklahoma State Cowboy to a Dallas Cowboy must've been a dream come true, especially for a kid from Pearland, Texas who rooted for America's Team growing up. The dream probably won't be complete though unless a roster spot comes with it.
Surprisingly, Justin Phillips has put himself into contention to earn one of those coveted roster spots. The way he has played in the first two preseason games has caught the attention of quite a few people, which should make it extremely difficult for the Cowboys coaching staff when it comes to making roster cut decisions. Dallas Cowboys Staff Writer and former Scout Bryan Broaddus agrees…
"Justin Phillips is going to make it hard on this staff to put him on the street. Not only is his finish impressive, but the awareness he plays with in pass coverage is impressive. There is no way I thought he had a chance for that interception, especially with this initial step into the line, but his ability to turn and run to a spot saved him."
Here is the play/interception Broaddus is referring to:
The Dallas Cowboys have typically only carried six linebackers on their 53-man roster these past few years. With four spots already spoken for, Justin Phillips is doing his damnedest to lock down one of those final two up for grabs. That, of course, is easier said than done.
Phillips is likely competing with Justin March-Lillard, who led the team in tackles against the Los Angeles Rams last week and fellow undrafted rookie LB Luke Gifford. Gifford, of course, missed the game against the Rams with an ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 of the preseason against the 49ers. It was actually that injury that resulted in more playing time for Justin Phillips.
If you're doing the math here, that's three linebackers competing for two roster spots. March-Lillard probably has the upper hand right now over the two rookies, but I wouldn't say he's secured a job just yet. That leaves the door open for No. 44 (Phillips) and No. 57 (Gifford).
As much as I like Luke Gifford, and I do, I think the stars could be aligning for Justin Phillips to make it through roster cuts. He's playing really well right now, while all Gifford can do is watch from the sideline until he can get back on the field. Regardless though, it's a position battle worth keeping an eye on.
Do you think LB Justin Phillips has done enough to secure a roster spot?
How Kris Richard May Help CB Michael Jackson Make Cowboys Roster
Cornerback Michael Jackson, one of the Dallas Cowboys' 5th-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, has not been standing out so far in training camp or preseason. But despite the slow start, the influence of Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard could help keep Jackson on the 53-man roster this year.
While no team likes parting with their drafted rookies, it certainly happens. That's especially true for Day 3 players, even 5th rounders, and particularly when a team is as deep with talent right now as the 2019 Cowboys.
The cornerback position is one of Dallas' most loaded. They go four-deep with starting talent in Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis, which leaves just one or two roster spots for the remaining prospects.
Michael Jackson is in competition with veteran C.J. Goodwin and the intriguing Donovan Olumba. Both were with the team last year; Goodwin was a special teams contributor and Olumba was a valuable developmental asset on the practice squad.
So far this preseason, we've seen Goodwin shining on special teams and Olumba making plays at cornerback. Jackson hasn't stood out, unless you count jokes about thin he looks on the field.
In contrast, fellow 5th-round rookie Joe Jackson has been showing up at defensive end. Even if there were no suspension concerns with Robert Quinn and Randy Gregory, Joe Jackson has made himself very difficult to cut.
But despite not having that same momentum or energy around him yet, Michael Jackson may still find his way onto the 53-man roster. And that may have something to do with his position coach.
Since arriving in Dallas during the 2018 offseason, Kris Richard has quickly gained prominence beyond just his official role as the Defensive Backs Coach. He was working as the defensive play-caller last year and is expected to take over fully in 2020, assuming Rod Marinelli retires and Richard doesn't leave for a head coaching opportunity.
When Dallas selected Michael Jackson in the last draft, Jackson became the first cornerback or safety drafted by the Cowboys since Richard arrived. Given that it happened this year, with Richard's influence clearly high on the defense, one would assume that Kris had a big say in the decision to draft Jackson.
No, Richard certainly can't veto any decision made by the Joneses, Will McClay, Jason Garrett, or even Marinelli when it comes to roster management. But if he has any bias towards Jackson as his first draft pick in Dallas, Kris may fight for the rookie more than someone else.
We're all human; agendas come into play. Kris Richard may be more passionate about seeing Michael Jackson succeeding for a variety of reasons. He may pound the table for the team to keep Jackson louder than anyone else in the room.
That doesn't necessarily mean keeping Jackson over some other cornerback, either. The argument could be to go long at CB at the expense of another position; maybe only keeing two quarterbacks or eight offensive linemen to free up a roster spot.
This is purely speculative, of course. For all we know, Richard could be the first one who loses faith and votes to let Jackson go.
But given the situation and all factors involved, it's more likely that Kris Richard will be invested in seeing Michael Jackson succeed and sticking with the Cowboys in 2019. Hopefully, it's in the best interest of the team overall.
DL Kerry Hyder Impressive In Cowboys Week 2 Preseason Win
Kerry Hyder joined the Cowboys this offseason on a one year deal, and while the four-year NFL veteran has put up some solid tape in his time around the league, it was hard to project just what he could bring to the Cowboys defense.
Listed at 6'2" 270 pounds, Hyder is a bit of a tweener on the defensive line. Though the answer to "will he play tackle or end" seems to be "both" to this point in the preseason.
As he fights for his life on this deep defensive line, Kerry Hyder had himself a day in the Cowboys 14-10 victory over the Rams last weekend.
Hyder made an excellent play defending a screen pass in the first quarter, reading the play perfectly and reacting quickly to running back Darrell Henderson coming out of the backfield. Hyder also created some pressure on the quarterback, and finished with 3 combined tackles in very limited playing time.
Hyder's versatility is working well for him as he looks to make the final roster. Like a Tyrone Crawford type player, Hyder will be able to move inside and out depending on the situation. This allows the Cowboys to be flexible in how they structure their depth chart on defense, and in how they decide to rush the passer on third down.
A pass rushing package involving Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence on the edge with the combination of Hyder and Maliek Collins on the inside could turn out to be a very dangerous one for opposing offenses to deal with.
Rod Marinelli spoke to this versatility a couple of months ago, showing just how much he values what Kerry Hyder can bring to this team.
"Maybe you adjust him sometime, once in a while – in a one-on-one pass rush situation, stick him over a guard and start to get a feel for it.” - Rod Marinelli
Earlier this offseason, I wrote that Kerry Hyder could end up being Rod Marinelli's next great under-the-radar find on the defensive line. And if he continues to play with the hustle and awareness that he had on Saturday, he's going to make Rod look very smart in his evaluation.
Kerry Hyder is making it very difficult for the front office to let him go. And, at the end of the preseason, I do expect Kerry Hyder to find himself on the Cowboys' active roster. Especially considering how Mike White is playing at quarterback, and how his release could open up an extra spot at a different position group.
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