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Why Cowboys Rookie DE Dorance Armstrong is the Pass Rusher to Watch in Carolina

The “Hot Boyz” is beginning their with high expectations, as well as a favorable match up against a depleted Carolina Panthers . Projected starter Matt Kalil is on , lost for the season at one tackle spot while the Panthers options on the right side are also recovering from .

Daryl Williams tops the at , despite tearing his MCL back in July, and reportedly being ready to play now.

The Cowboys have the depth up front for to make this a long game for Panthers QB . is looking to build on a 14.5 sack output from 2017, taking the lead for a Cowboys defensive line that added plenty of reinforcements around Tank for Sunday's opener.

None of the Cowboys “new” additions on the defensive line are more talented than , who will be returning from to play his first regular season game since of 2016. With Marinelli hinting that the Cowboys will keep Gregory fresh in his first real game action of the season, deploying him strictly as a pass rusher, the door is open for rookie to earn his star rather quickly on Sunday.

Aside from his stunning level of polish as a fourth round prospect that saw a serious dip in production last year at Kansas, Armstrong's versatility as a rusher could have him in for a huge day against the Panthers. The Cowboys seem to have Armstrong on the fast track to regaining his Junior season form, where he looked every bit the pliable that Dallas has used at right end this .

Armstrong is physical enough at the point of attack to hold up at left end, where the Cowboys can comfortably deploy second-year DE behind Lawrence. Charlton himself has shown steady progress as the Cowboys pick of 2017, further adding to the anticipation of what this defensive line could mean to Dallas.

Playing in support of a well-coached and talented , the Cowboys has all the makings of an elite unit, and make no mistake that Armstrong is already a valuable part of the team's plan.

Keeping Gregory off the field on early downs while deploying Armstrong to attack the is as good of a plan the Cowboys have had at right defensive end in years. I don't think it will take long for Armstrong to make forget about the likes of and oh-he's-a-defensive-tackle-again trying to pressure the quarterback previously.

It is assuredly not the ideal scenario for Panthers LT Taylor Moton to be making his first career start in. In his second season out of Western Michigan, Moton never played more than 12 snaps at tackle for the Panthers in one game as a rookie.

won't have to be on the lookout for Armstrong in Bob “Mr. Cowboy” Lilly's old number of #74, as the rookie began as “that defensive end with a number he can't possibly deserve with little chance to earn it”.

Armstrong emphatically earned his spot on this team's 53-man roster, claiming a new number in #92. I'd expect to be seeing that numeral all over the field on Sunday. While one breakout game won't earn the 116th overall pick of this year's draft the status of , it will serve as a solid introduction to opposing offenses that must take notice of yet another option on defense for Dallas.

Knowing they'll have to deal with Lawrence first and foremost, the Panthers might be the only team that Dorance Armstrong is able to catch by surprise this season, which is a very good thing for a Cowboys defense that still won't be at full strength against a dangerous Carolina in week one.

Sean Martin
Sean Martin
Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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