The never-ending quest for a pass rusher in Dallas has calmed down since DeMarcus Lawrence had a break-out season in 2017. Now, the Cowboys have seemingly found their "War Daddy" to get after quarterbacks week after week on the field.
Playing under the franchise tag, the long-term future at defensive end is still uncertain for the Cowboys. Will they give Lawrence an arguably deserved extension? Or will they wait to see him prove that he isn't what many are afraid he is... a one-year wonder.
Whatever the case may be, pass rusher is one of those positions that always concern NFL teams and fans around the world. Some name the position one of the most important in the sport, and rightfully so. For Dallas, retaining Lawrence for at least another season was a huge offseason victory.
Pair that uncertainty about the long term future with the fact that Lawrence's best play came when playing as the left defensive end, and you still have a team that could use a pass rusher on the right side.
Without a doubt, the team will be looking for one in the Draft, even though it may not be early.
However, the Dallas Cowboys may already have their right defensive end of the future in the house. They of course would have to get lucky, but Randy Gregory is reportedly applying for reinstatement.
Now, the team can't depend on Gregory being there for next season and should continue to build their team without him as part of the plan, but Gregory could very well end up being a starter down the road if he's reinstated.
Despite his limited availability at the start of his career, the talent is clearly there. As Inside The Star Staff Writer Jess Haynie wrote yesterday, the Cowboys are in a no-lose scenario with him.
Another player who we may be forgetting about is actually last year's first round pick. Many were disappointed when Dallas drafted Taco Charlton in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Taco flashed potential towards the end of the season, giving us hope that he was indeed going to be a very good player for the team.
Although Charlton's rookie season was a bit disappointing for a first-round pick, it's still too early to give up on him. We'll see how he progresses and hopefully he ends up being this team's RDE.
In my pre-free agency mock draft, with a board wiped clean for Dallas, I mocked an EDGE rusher for the Cowboys at 19. I know this might not be what the front office will be looking for in the first round, but one has to wonder if someone like Harold Landry falls to them, would they consider taking him?
Landry is a very talented player who could do great things for this defensive line. Imagine that front. It could be what this team needs to take the defense to another level.
For now, we know the Cowboys are set at LDE with DeMarcus Lawrence, who is becoming one of the best rushers in the league. Will they get lucky at RDE with any of these guys? Hopefully, yes.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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