Hey, we like strip sacks.
Raise your hand if you've seen a live snap of Tyrone Crawford's career?
Well, my hands are still on my keyboard in (almost) proper typing position. After what seemed like a longer wait than watching the 1 and 4 o'clock games when Dallas plays on Sunday night, almost 50 picks went by today before Dallas returned to the clock for the 81st overall pick during the third round. When they did, they continued the theme from yesterday in trying to improve their defensive performance with the selection of Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford.
After the draft concluded for the evening, Jerry Jones said that they had Crawford rated as the best player in the third round. Head coach Jason Garrett indicated that they would primarily use Crawford in passing situations initially. The word potential was bandied about a lot.
Once the pick was announced, we needed to get a better picture of exactly what got the war room so excited.
First, the numbers. Crawford only started for one season at the FBS level as he was a JUCO transfer from Bakersfield College and a backup as a junior. As a part-time playing junior, he amassed 32 tackles including 13.5 for a loss and 7 sacks. However, he didn't do much to improve those numbers as a senior starter when he totaled 44 tackles, 13.5 for a loss and 6.5 sacks. Still, he was first-team all conference.
The first concern about Crawford will be his 275 pound weight, although he has an athletic build and frame and looks like he could put on more weight. Dallas only has one DE that weighs in less than 295 lbs and that's Jason Hatcher. I've seen a couple questions here and there about whether he would be an OLB and there is nothing I saw in my short research that said anything except for five-technique; and a potentially very good one.
Crawford's Scouting Combine results were comparable with Fletcher Cox of Mississippi State who was long rumored to Dallas and ended up going to Philadelphia. He ran a 4.81 40 yard dash with a 1.62 10-yard split (4.79 and 1.63 for Cox). Crawford bench pressed 225 lbs 28 times (30), and had a broad jump of 9'5" (8'7"). Cox weighed 296 lbs however.
Follow the jump to see what else I found.
It appears that the draft prognosticators were a bit divided on Crawford's pro potential. While Drafttek didn't even have him rated as a 3-4 DE until recently (and I have concerns it didn't happen until he was selected) they had him as a 6th round prospect as a 4-3 DE. On the other hand, CBS Sports and NFL Draft Scout had him as the 54th ranked overall prospect in the entire draft; a second round steal for Dallas at #81.
Wes Bunting of the National Football Post had him as the eighth-best defensive end prospect and #85 overall; indicating almost perfect value.
So what kind of player will he be? Well, according to NFL Draft Scout, he seems to be a high-motor, fighter who has the athletic ability to perform well, but a limited array of moves that keeps him from excelling at rushing the passer.
High effort rusher and works through the whistle. Relentless worker, fighting off blocks and battling to the ballcarrier. Has strong hands and holds his own at the point of attack. Stout anchor when he plays low to the ground. Has strong practice habits and coaches talk highly of his work ethic. Has been productive at the FBS-level with a combined 27.0 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks the past two seasons. Offers some scheme versatility. Weaknesses: Not a quick-twitch player who will consistently threaten the edge. Has limited explosive qualities and lacksgreat initial burst or overall range for the position, not overly flexible or loose. Has a limited array of pass rush moves and needs to improve his technique in this area.
The National Football Post echoes these sentiments, adding that he could quickly develop into a three-down lineman.
However, he does have the ability to change directions, as he looks natural on T/E stunts coming inside, extending his arms, being violent and working through the play. He's a former JUCO player who is still developing at the position and might need a little more time than most.
Impression: I like his skill set. I think he's going to develop quickly at the next level and he has the ability to be a solid three down lineman with some time. He isn't there yet, but as a prospect Crawford has some real upside and displays the kind of blue-collar pass rushing mentality that I like with a powerful element to his game on contact.
Adding Crawford to the defensive end rotation to replace possibly Marcus Spears or Kenyon Coleman means that the Cowboys are churning the roster like they are supposed to. While there might have been more well-known defensive end prospects available such as Jared Crick of Nebraska, one can easily see why Dallas' War Room was excited at the possibility. Now, Rob Ryan and Brian Baker will have to turn the untapped potential into production as the Cowboys attempt to match the rest of the division with their seemingly never-ending defensive line rotations.