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Improving the Defensive Line without a 1st and 2nd rounder




Its been said, seemingly to death, that Dallas needs to spend a large amount of their early selections on the defensive line. The problem is, the way the draft plays out sometimes that may not happen. Ill throw a very possible senario out there where this may happen. At 16 Dallas selects Zach Martin, and at 47 selects Jimmy Ward. But can Dallas signifignatly improve their defensive line without drafting a player in the first two rounds? I believe they can. First lets take a look at what they have on hand

DE: George Selvie, Anthony Spencer, Jeremy Mincey, Martez Wilson

DT: Henry Melton, Terrell Mclain, Ben Bass

Flex: Tyrone Crawford

While we arent looking at a dominant line here, there are enough solid pieces to where hitting on 2 to 3 draft picks could make this a very deep area. Think back to the Swarming Rotation blog from months ago. Spencer is a question mark, but 75% of what he was in 2012 is still a quality player. With more depth we can cut into Selvies snap count, which I believe makes him a very strong pass rusher. He really seemed to hit the wall the second half of the season, but looked like a Pro Bowl darkhorse the first half. Mincey should help keep both Spencer and Selvie fresh. On the inside, while I like McClain, I feel he is best serving as a backup 1 Tech, or as a short distance 3 Tech. Crawford is a player who I belive we will get quality snaps out of, however his role isnt very defined at the moment. There are assets here, however this is definitely an area in need of young talent. Now how do we improve this area under the conditions of the previously mentioned scenario. Lets have a crack at it

Round 3: Will Sutton, DT, ASU

Sutton will man the 1 Technique and also gives us a possible successor at the 3 in the event we dont pick up Meltons option. A pure 3 Tech in 2012, one positive gained from playing big in 2013 is he learned how to thrive (still 2013 Pac 10 DPOY) in a role he was required to anchor more the penetrate. Word is he will be around 295 by minicamps which is fair for a 1 Tech. At the 1 Technique Sutton gives us a player capable of both penetrating gaps at a very high level, and anchoring on an acceptable level. I believe he would be a week 1 starter next to Melton

Round 4: Will Clarke, DE, WV

Dallas has no shot at there RDE if they dont get one in round 1. Martin IMO is an LDE and Jeffcoate is a situational rusher. For 2014, we are gonna have to hold out hope for Spencer at RDE. Clarke may not be there in the 4th, but I think we get lucky here. Clarke is a solid LDE prospect. Reminds me of a cross between Chandler Jones and Cory Wooton. While he may struggle turning the corner, he has a solid array of pass rush moves. Very good VS the run anchoring and penetrating. I see him as a 7 sack guy

Round 5: Howard Jones, DE/OLB Shepard

Im iffy on Jones, but what I do like about him, his ability to be a dangerous pass rusher, makes me comfortable with the pick. He is a guy that Marinellis gonna earn his pay with. I dont ever see him being a 3 down player on the defensive line, but I can see him developing into a Mark Anderson type eventually. As a rookie he can have a similar role as Vic Butler did as a rookie, that 4th quarter pass rusher who can use motor and athleticism to beat tired lineman

Round 7 Kerry Hyder, DT, Texas Tech

I see him as a tweener 1 Tech/3 Tech. However has a non stop motor and is very competitive, and is a guy I can see earning 200/300 snaps as a rookie. I think if you start him anywhere, its the 1 Technique. In this scenario and in the event we let Melton walk, he would be a strong candidate to man the 1 Technique

If we can get a draft like this, while it wont be as apealing or effective as add a Donald, or a Barr or even an Elay or a Lawrence, it will still go along way into having a rounded, viable and threatening Defensive live

If this doesnt appeal to you, there is something worth noting. The Seattle Seahawks defensive line, the envy of the NFL, has only 1 player on 1 selected in the first two rounds of the draft. Bruce Irvin. And he is more of a LEO then he is a true DE

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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