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Cowboys Rookie Expectations: Second-Round Pick Randy Gregory

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this month, we took a look at first-round pick Byron Jones and tried to gauge just what kind of role he would have in 2015. Now, we turn our attention to Randy Gregory. The Cowboys second-round pick was one of the big sliders during the draft, falling all the way out of the top of the first round down to Dallas late in the second. This was linked to his failed drug tests and less-than-dependable behavior such as being late or missing meetings. Since then Gregory has come clean about his mental issues and the Cowboys are working hard to provide the kind of support he needs to thrive. But, there is always the danger of a backslide.

This alone makes Gregory a little bit of a risky proposition. In his case, he's also dealing with a couple of other factors that could affect his playing time. One, how long Greg Hardy is suspended should correlate somewhat to Gregory's playing time. Hardy is likely to spend some time at right defensive end, the same spot Gregory is slated to play. Of course, we've been dreaming about the Cowboys "Nascar" package where Hardy moves inside, that could allow Gregory more time.

Two, Gregory has to get his weight up or the Cowboys might be reluctant to play him except in very obvious passing situations. The good news is Gregory is reportedly adding the weight he needs.

So pegging Gregory's playing time options is not so easy. For this exercise, we'll assume the Cowboys will start DeMarcus Lawrence on the left side. I'll break it down like this:

1. Greg Hardy's suspension stands, Gregory becomes the starter at RDE until Hardy comes back.

2. Hardy's suspension stands, but the Cowboys decide to go with Jeremy Mincey as the starter and Gregory plays a reserve role.

3. Hardy's suspension is reduced significantly, Gregory serves as the backup in the rotation.

4. Gregory is too light and too much of a rookie, doesn't get much playing time this season.

5. Something goes wrong, an off-the-field issue limits his availability.

Hit the poll and the comments and let us know what you think will happen.

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