The left defensive end is usually a guy that can seal the edge, defeat the tight end and turn any sweep or outside zone running play back inside. This means that a team will usually put their bigger and stronger end on the left side while the lighter, faster defensive end will play on the right side.
Demarcus Lawrence weighs around 260-265 while Randy Gregory only weighs around 235. Gregory has the long arms that teams covet. As Warren Sapp says, "the guy that gets his hands on the other guy first...wins!" That is why teams covet offensive linemen with long arms. You want a minimum of 32" arms on an offensive lineman and 34" arms are considered very good. Gregory has 34" arms and knows how to use them.
I expect that the defensive line from left end to the right end will be Demarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Nick Hayden, and Randy Gregory. And once Greg Hardy is available, I see him filling in at all of those positions, especially for Hayden (mainly on sure passing downs), which could then give the Cowboys a 3rd-down line that could look like this from left to right:
Lawrence -- Crawford -- Hardy -- Gregory
WOW, what a lineup. And that's without even accounting for Jeremy Mincey. However, keep in mind that Rob Marinelli likes to rotate his "rushmen" to keep them fresh.
And while the departures of George Selvie, Anthony Spencer, and Henry Melton had temporarily reduced the headcount in the rushmen room, the additions of Hardy, Gregory and Ryan Russell means that rushmen room is crowded once more.
Here's a very rough depth chart as it stands today for our front four:
|1||Demarcus Lawrence||Tyrone Crawford||Nick Hayden||Randy Gregory|
|2||Jeremy Mincey||Terrell McClain||Josh Brent||Greg Hardy|
|3||Ben Gardner||Chris Whaley||Ken Bishop||Kenneth Boatright|
|4||Ryan Russell||Jack Crawford||Davon Coleman||Lavar Edwards|
This chart makes you wonder just how many defensive linemen will actually make the roster. No team carries 17 players for the front four. Usually they keep 9-10 players.
The top eight guys look fairly set, though Greg Hardy may not be available for a while (which is why he's not penciled in as a starter here). That leaves about three extra spots for the remaining players.
Who will make the race?