Stephen Jones lamented the other day that reason behind a lot of their decisions to let guys walk over the past few weeks is the fact that they didn’t want to keep paying the guys they had. Why? It’s because those guys weren’t good enough. He also stated that the defense is their primary focus and that putting pressure on the quarterback is 1 and the secondary is 1A. For today, we’re going to focus on the first part of that, putting pressure on the quarterback.
It’s important to note that the Dallas Cowboys made a substantial improvement in the sack category last season. After being 28th in the league in 2014 and 25th in the league in 2015, they made a jump to 13th in the league this past season with 36 sacks. That is one more sack than the $200 million dollar defense of our rival, the New York Giants.
The Cowboys still have a ways to go in the pass rush category and it’s been a thorn in their side for years. That’s why we’re all in this together pouring over scouting reports on the various edge rushers in this year’s draft. We all want edge rushers because ultimately it’s the second-most coveted position after the quarterback. It’s a passing league and if you can’t create consistent pressure, you can easily be carved up. As much as we want an edge rusher for the Dallas Cowboys in this year’s draft, it needs to be the ‘right’ edge rusher.
The Cowboys already have a bunch of bodies at the position. The last thing they need is just adding another body to the roster. It’s going to be important for Rod Marinelli to get the very best edge rusher available to him. No, we’re not advocating a trade for Myles Garrett here, Marinelli can get his guy wherever he chooses, just let it be the right guy.
Speaking of the right guy, the Cowboys need a right end. They have left ends all over the roster but they need a consistent ‘war daddy’ type of edge rusher. We can forget about Randy Gregory ever becoming anything for this team. They drafted DeMarcus Lawrence to play right end and he certainly has the upside to do it. However, here he is in his fourth offseason and he’s coming off his second-consecutive back surgery.
David Irving was wreaking havoc at the end of the season last year but who knows if he’s truly ready for an increased role? Also, is Irving an end or tackle or both? If he is an end, is he better suited for the left?
Charles Tapper is a supreme athlete that fell to the fourth round but again he’s a player that redshirted last season due to a back condition. Benson Mayowa led the team with six sacks but does he have ‘war daddy’ potential? Damontre Moore was signed in the offseason on a last-chance deal. Yeah, it’s pretty important for the Cowboys to find “the” edge rusher.
Where will they find him? Well, logic will say that you have to draft these guys early because they will go fast in this draft. Though this year’s draft offers up extensive depth that seemingly goes on for a while, there are a lot of edge rushers that will be gobbled up early. It’s up to the Cowboys to find one that they ‘love’ not ‘like’.
They already have way too many guys that they ‘like’ and not enough guys that they love. Marinelli is a magic-man and he’s been very good at polishing coal and turning it into cubic zirconias. When is someone going to get him a diamond though? He’s a miracle-worker when it comes to those low-ceiling guys but now it’s time to get him a ‘war daddy’.
Jerry Jones isn’t interested in redshirt guys this year but does a guy like Takkarist McKinley fit the redshirt mold? Not really, seeing as that he’ll be back late-September, early-October but that doesn’t help you through OTA’s and the learning process. Is that guy a Charles Harris or Carl Lawson? Look, a lot of guys didn’t test as well at the Combine but that can’t completely wash out their tape, can it?
Harris and Lawson both have good tape that shows their abilities as edge rushers. Taco Charlton has all the measurables but many think he’s a left end or base end in a 3-4 defense. Maybe you take a chance on T.J. Watt, who is becoming a fan favorite among the SPARQ’ers, and shows supreme athleticism and bend around the edge. Watt may never become the guy his brother is but he can play and is barely scratching the surface of his potential.
Maybe it’s not even a first round guy at all. The Cowboys could always wait until Day 2, not all war daddies have to be first-round picks. What about Kansas State’s Jordan Willis? He’s certainly a guy who tested well and showed up at the Senior Bowl. Of course, there is Tarell Basham, whom the Cowboys have been linked with and will meet.
The point is that the Cowboys are searching high and low for their edge rusher and they have been clear that ‘war daddy’ is on their mind. Finding an edge rusher is a diligent and strenuous process but it’s a necessary evil for success in the NFL.
Who do you think is the best “war daddy” that will likely be available to the Cowboys?