It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when many fans had all but written off any possibility that Randy Gregory would help this Dallas Cowboys football team. After missing all but two games over the last two seasons serving a drug suspension, why would we have any faith that he would ever return to this team, let along make a big contribution? That’s a fair emotion to have. After all, when a team makes a player their 60th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, it’s okay to have high expectations. And there is no denying that Gregory has severely disappointed.
But it’s a new chapter now. A chapter that follows over 2,000 pages worth of testimony that helped Gregory get reinstated into the league. A chapter that now consists of a drug-free Gregory who has now had two years worth of clean drug tests. And a chapter that includes a player that has found a more positive way to help him deal with bipolar disorder, the medical condition for which he was using marijuana in the first place.
The Cowboys never gave up on Gregory and have a strong belief in the type of person he is. They are hoping he manifests into the great player they thought he could be, but as defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli explains, the benefits are two-fold:
“It’s his life. And it’s important to me. Very important.”
“These guys aren’t just a chair. We’re not a furniture store. Give me a new couch here. It can be that way at times. But he’s one of our men and you want to see him do well.”
Getting his life right was priority one and Gregory has spent the better part of two years working on that. He’s ready to take the next step and that means getting back to doing football stuff. Marinelli continues...
“And the second fold is you want to see what he can do for the Cowboys and this team. He’s got special talent. He’s here and he’s done what he’s supposed to do to get back to this position. And I take my hat off to him. Now, we got to grind him. And do it the right way and try to bring him back the right way.”
It’s hard to truly understand the affinity the coaches and players have for Gregory without being in the locker room with them. Many of his teammates speak highly of the type of person he is, which was evident by how some of the Cowboys most respected leaders went to bat for him with letters to the NFL commissioner.
What is not hard to understand, however, is the potential he offers as a pass rusher. Gregory is a true talent and possesses all the traits you’d want from a right defensive end. He’s an explosive player and changes direction extremely well. And he’s got the speed and high effort motor to stay in relentless pursuit. He’s a lanky guy, but shows a great amount of strength for someone his size. His tentacle size arms and strong hand usage make him a nightmare for tackles. He’s still raw in a lot of areas, but with good coaching, he can be an elite edge rusher in this league. His draft profile on NFL.com said this about him:
“He’s super raw, but those physical tools are through the roof. That’s why you pay coaches.” -- NFC scouting director”
His spider chart is extremely impressive (courtesy of mockdrafttable via Jeff Cavanaugh).
We don’t know how long it’s going to take for Gregory to get acclimated to the game of football again. And when he does, it’s still unclear how effective he can be on the field. The unknowns are certainly there. But so is the possibility that Gregory can be a geniune force on the edge for the Cowboys. If he ends up being the player some expected, the Cowboys defensive line just got a giant boost in talent. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited.
This current defensive line rotation will be the most talented group of players that Rod Marinelli has ever had to work with during his time with the Cowboys. They are young, hungry, and ready to bring the Doomsday back to Dallas. pic.twitter.com/4A9sHxbqhB— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) July 31, 2018