In a perfect world, the Dallas Cowboys would have DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford as cornerstones in their defense and wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. In reality, both guys are returning from their second consecutive offseason surgeries and neither has been much of an impact for this team. Comparable to a broken record, the same issues have been affecting this team and it’s not something that is simple to fix.
Everyone wants the Cowboys to have an elite pass rush. We’re so tired of seeing guys like Aaron Rodgers have all the time they need to stick the slow dagger in the hearts of Cowboys fans at the end of a good season. However, wanting is one thing and being able to execute that is another. The Dallas Cowboys haven’t had a guy with double-digit sacks since Jason Hatcher in 2013. They haven’t been able to draft and elite edge rusher since DeMarcus Ware, who just so happens to be headed to Canton one day. It’s hard to find players like Ware and it’s not like they are sitting in every single draft waiting to be plucked.
I have been very adamant about the Cowboys taking an edge rusher early in this draft and it’s mainly because I feel the “right” pass rusher has been eluding them for the past few years. Myles Garrett may be that generational player like a Ware or J.J. Watt but the amount of capital it would take to get him would leave holes all over the roster. It’s still not going to sway those of us who want to take a shot at a Derek Barnett, Takkarist McKinley, Taco Charlton, Charles Harris, T.J. Watt, or Tyus Bowser. There is a pass rusher for everyone and we’ve already split those hairs.
What the Cowboys have done in the past several years is toss a lot of bodies at the problem in hopes that it will work. They’ve traded up to get Lawrence (their last RDE on the board), they’ve spent their third-rounder on Crawford (moved him all around), they’ve even thrown a dart at a premium edge rusher falling for personal demons. That’s not all, the front office has also brought in restricted free agents like Benson Mayowa (led team in sacks), and they also have a guy like David Irving that Lance Zierlein believes is a first-round talent now. For what it’s worth, the Cowboys haven’t had much success at finding their next 10-sack pass rusher but it’s not for the sake of not trying. That’s why their search for the “war daddy” trudges on and will be an early consideration in next week’s draft.
If you listen to the Draft Show, they had Rick Gosselin on this week’s episode and edge rusher was a premier topic of discussion. Folks have their opinions on the “Goose” but make no mistake, he’s a very respected football mind and has been for a long time. Gosselin’s point is if you want an edge rusher, you got to take them early. He goes on to point out that once the run begins, it goes swiftly. That’s just shown to be a fact over the years because outside of quarterback, that’s the unicorn everyone is chasing.
It’s kind of what took place last year if you think about it. The Cowboys saw Joey Bosa right off the board in front of them. They watched as rumored favorites Emmanuel Ogbah and Kevin Dodd were selected respectively at the top of the second round. Dallas wanted to take an edge rusher but it eluded them until Charles Tapper in the fourth round. Tapper is an outstanding SPARQ athlete but his debilitating back injury forced him to redshirt last season. This team is excited about his 2017 prospects as he has speed and bend that Rod Marinelli is looking for. They are under the impression that Bob Stoops wasn’t using him correctly in 2015.
You can’t help but think about last year’s circumstances and this year’s positioning could lend itself to the same issue. If Goose is right, which he likely is, we most certainly will see a run begin in the first round that could potentially wipe out all of the guys we’re seeing linked to the Cowboys. The good news is that would mean a cornerback they really like is probably there for the taking. The bad news is that we don’t know how heavy that edge rushing run will be. They could very well be wiped out by 28 and then again by 60.
Nobody is advocating taking an edge rusher for the sake of taking one. The hope is that someone they really like will be available to them at 28 or 60, but it’s a crap shoot. The reason to prefer an edge rusher at 28 all stems from the belief there’s a far better chance they will like the cornerback that’s there at 60 versus the rusher. Much like the quarterback, the elusive edge rusher will always be over drafted.