Let's Visualize What The Cowboy Defensive Line Will Look Like In 2014

I get that people are not happy with our Defense. Last place ranking and pitiful recent performance will do that, but lets focus on where the problems are and what we can do to reasonably "fix" them. I get that everyone wants all-pros at every position, but let's just state for the record, that although it should be the goal, it will never be possible. Even when we were winning Superbowls in the 90's and didn't have to worry about a salary cap and losing players to free agency, when we boasted the deepest roster in all of football, we still had "JAGS" on the team. Looking back at that team, with the exception of Charles Haley, we just had a group of good (and a few above average) guys on our D Line. That could be said about the rest of our position groups in our heyday. Fast forward to 2014 in the salary cap and free agency era, where with the exception of New England, there really isn't such a thing as "dynasties" anymore. Look at what's happening to the Niners...they've got more than a few holes to plug. How does their D Line look without Aldon Smith? The point I'm trying to make is that all teams are constantly building, you are only one injury or one arrest away from "concern" in the NFL. Teams can turn on a dime in today's NFL if you have some talent on your roster. With the exception of a few "grossly mismanaged" teams in the NFL (ie. Jacksonville, Oakland, Buffalo), everyone can turn it around in one season (ie. Carolina and Kansas City). There is talent on the Cowboys. I'm not saying we are the most talented roster in the league, but we are certainly not in the bottom half. With the exception of our D Line, what position group would you say is laughable? Pull out the roster and list the names by position groups, then compare them to your division rivals. I assure you we don't look that bad. We have some talent on this team. Better yet, young talent.

Let's look at our Defensive Line roster...

Current Cowboy Roster

Tyrone Crawford DE

Jeremy Mincey DE

George Selvie DE

Caesar Rayford DE (Futures)

Tristan Okpalaugo DE (Futures)

Henry Melton DT

Ben Bass DT

Nick Hayden DT

Terrell McClain DT

Frank Kearse DT

**Anthony Spencer (UFA)


Possible Draft Additions (Players Visiting Valley Ranch)

Anthony Barr DE

Aaron Donald DT

Timmy Jernigan DT

Kony Ealy DE

DeMarcus Lawrence DE

Jackson Jeffcoat DE

Will Clarke DE

Ken Bishop DT

Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe DT

Davon Coleman DE

Luke Sebald DE


What gives me some hope is the 2 free agents (Mincey/McClain) we acquired, Crawford/Bass, and the intrigue of the Futures guys we have in Rayford/Okpalaugo. Those 6 guys are the "wildcards". What happens if Marinelli can make something of these guys? What happens if we can re-sign Spencer on a cheap contract and he is at least 80% what he was in 2012? That would mean we would have created a "competent" line this off season.

I thought it was going to look like a friggin' "disaster" before I laid out all the names on a page. Afterwards, I don't feel as bad. Let's be real honest, I don't have "warm and fuzzies" right now about where our line is. I don't see a dominant line, but what I do see is some potential. At 6 months before the start of the season, I can "accept" potential for the time being. Adding in the "real potential" that we will get 3-4 of those names on the draft list (not to mention other names that will be available in the draft), I feel even better. Finally, knowing that Will McClay will be keeping a steady eye on rosters of other teams and their practice squads, I can be persuaded to even feel positive.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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