Now that the Cowboys have signed Henry Melton, we can start getting a look at who Dallas will roll out along the defensive line for the first game of 2014. Well, we can at least make a guess at it. And by the way, if you were holding out any hope that Jared Allen would be part of that line, it looks like that ship has all but sailed.
Right now, I'd say there is only one sure thing, and that's Henry Melton lining up as the 3-tech on opening day. I mean, as long as his knee truly is fine. After that, I'd say we're 99% sure that George Selvie will be one of the starting defensive ends. After that, the guessing game is on.
Question: what does the D-line depth chart look like now? Rainer Sabin: It's hard to tell. Right now, the starters would likely be Mincey, Melton, Hayden and Selvie. Perhaps Crawford would play in Hayden's spot.
Nick Hayden is the incumbent as the 1-tech, but could he be supplanted by either a newcomer or someone returning from injury. You've got potential prospects in newly-signed Terrell McClain, or possibly Ben Bass. Bass is intriguing as a defensive tackle prospect, but is he stout enough for the 1-tech? The Cowboys also have Frank Kearse on the roster.
At the other end spot, I guess Jeremy Mincey or Tyrone Crawford are the likely candidates. Crawford is versatile so he could also play inside as a tackle, possibly a 3-tech? The Cowboys also have futures contracts on Caesar Rayford and Tristan Okpalaugo.
Then there are the unknowns. Will Anthony Spencer be back in the fold and would he be able to play early on? Is Josh Brent a possibility to return? Could Dallas pick up a player in the draft who could make it into the starting lineup?
My guess: Selvie, Melton, Hayden and Crawford as starters. My backup guess: Selvie, Melton, Timmy Jernigan, Spencer.
Who you got?