With a high-risk, high-reward pass rusher in free agency, Greg Hardy, looking at a suspension of possibly ten games Dallas was almost as eager to get a pass rusher as they were a cornerback. With top-15 level talent Randy Gregory falling late into the second round, the risk/reward factor came in to play at Valley Ranch. In spite of issues with a failed drug test and multiple instances for irresponsible behavior, Jerry Jones and company pulled the trigger on by far the best rushman left on the open market. Gregory was a player who received serious thought for the #27 pick on Thursday and when he was still in play at #60 there was no doubt.
Where He Fits Now
Randy Gregory will come in and provide an immediate boost to the Dallas pass rush. Joining last year's second-round selection DeMarcus Lawrence will give Gregory an opportunity to contribute without being the only source of pressure. If Hardy's suspension is reduced, there will be even less pressure on him. No matter who else lines up on the defensive line with him, Gregory will be an immediate impact guy, and a player of his stature should be. The short version is that the Cowboys pass rush has taken a huge step toward getting healthy and perhaps on its way to returning to the point that it can make a difference in games.
All of this is contingent on Mr. Gregory taking advantage of a second chance, and his learning from past mistakes. His new defensive coordinator, Rod Marinelli, is the master of tough love. The support structure that Randy needs to better himself with be there, but the biggest step is up to him. Randy Gregory could prove himself to be the best thing to happen to the rushmen since Marinelli came to town, or he could become a wasted selection. That battle will be fought not on the gridiron but in the six inch space between his ears. Right now, it is all wait and see.
And Where Does He Fit In The Long Run
Gregory's long-term future in Dallas is largely predicated on what his short-term future holds. There is little question that the Cowboys have done their due diligence on the player; he has intrigued the team for quite a while. There is quite a bit of trust invested in this pick. Should Gregory prove that he can be the man, on and off the field, that the front office feels he can be, the sky could be the limit. With Greg Hardy likely being a one year rental for Dallas, Gregory and Lawrence are intended to be the future.
Randy Gregory is intended to be the pressure guy that takes Marinelli's defense to the next level and who leads the rushmen for the next decade. The twin second-round DE's that Dallas now has on the roster will not only improve the front seven, they will make Byron Jones and the other defensive backs even better. There is now a foundation in place for the Cowboys defense, the only question to be answered is if that foundation is going to be a solid one. Only Randy Gregory can answer that.
Ultimately Dallas has selected two guys whom they felt were first-round worthy, now they just need to hope that they are right.