When the Dallas Cowboys selected Dorance Armstrong in the fourth round of the draft, many fans and observers didn’t see it coming. Defensive end wasn’t really high on the Cowboys list of needs, and there wasn’t a lot of buzz about Armstrong coming into the draft. The fact that the Cowboys war room was over-the-top excited when making the pick, along with the the news that they actually tried trading up previously to get Armstrong, made the faithful all the more curious about this newcomer to the team.
Armstrong did have a breakout year in 2016, with 10 sacks leading the way of a host of nice stats. His draft buzz was high then had he decided to come out. 2017 saw a huge decline in stats as he was often played out of position in a new defensive scheme, and he was often double-teamed as he was the only true threat on his team.
Still, he had the athletic traits you wanted including his speed and quickness, to go along with his long arms. But that wasn’t enough to truly regain his draft buzz, and then an average combine sealed his fate. His numbers didn’t jump off the screen like many had expected.
It turns out there might have been a good reason for that. Thanks to Sports Day’s excellent series of talking to the college coaches of the Cowboys draft picks, we get some key information about Armstrong. It might go a long way in explaining how the Cowboys got Armstrong in the fourth round, when his talent may have dictated he go much higher. Here is Kansas head coach David Beaty on Armstrong:
Tell us what you heard from teams leading up to draft.
Beaty: The issue for a lot of teams was his combine performance and pro day performance. Well, Dorance has never weighed 260 pounds since he’s been here. He came in very, very heavy. I’m not sure who exactly he was training with, but my way of dealing with him would not be carrying that kind of weight. The guy we know, one of his biggest attributes is his speed and quickness. I can assure you they got a steal out of him because had he ran what I thought he was going to run and been at the right weight, he wouldn’t have been around fourth round. No way.
Dorance is a lot faster than what people think. Dorance never ran even remotely close to the (4.87) times he ran for the scouts. He’s been a high 4.5 to mid 4.6 guy every day when he was at the right weight: I think what they’re going to see is one of the most explosive guys develop in the NFL when it comes to getting off that edge. They found them a pass rusher. They got them a guy, no doubt.
The Cowboys pass rush may turn out to be a force this year. DeMarcus Lawrence leads the way, and David Irving is bringing it in the interior. Tyrone Crawford is steady, and Dallas hopes that Taco Charlton takes a leap forward in 2018 after starting to show positive signs at the end of 2017. Kony Ealy is a guy they hope they can get going in the right direction, and there is also the possibility of Randy Gregory returning.
Now, maybe we can include Dorance Armstrong in that mix.
If you want to know more about Armstrong make sure you check out the film review we posted on him.