The Dallas Cowboys released defensive tackle Jihad Ward on Friday as the team has begun their roster cuts to get down to 53 players. After having a good showing during OTA’s, Ward started generating quite the buzz as it appeared the Cowboys might have found a solid piece to the interior of the defensive line. But ever since, it’s been tough for Ward to keep his head afloat.
Cowboys have released Jihad Ward.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) September 1, 2018
Several players have emerged at defensive tackle and passed up Ward on the depth chart, most notably - Antwuan Woods, who has surprised us all. And now that Tyrone Crawford is spending some time on the inside, it’s just a packed house on the interior defensive line and the team didn’t feel that Ward’s services were needed.
The team made a draft-day trade to acquire Ward when they shipped last year’s fourth-round draft pick, Ryan Switzer, to Oakland. Ward was selected in the second round (44th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. He had trouble getting going in Oakland after injuries caused him to miss valuable time in training camp in each of his two seasons with the Raiders. After two unimpressive season, the Raiders had seen enough and sent Ward packing.
The Cowboys were high on him as he was ranked five spots after Maliek Collins on the team’s draft board in 2016 and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli got a good look at him when he coached Ward in the 2016 Senior Bowl.
Like many other players the Cowboys have shown interest in, Ward doesn’t have a lot of experience at the game of football. He didn’t start learning the game until late into his high school years. Is he just a late bloomer who could still show improvement? Maybe that’s what the Cowboys thought when they struck the deal to bring him over.
Despite the hopes that Ward could revitalize his career in Dallas, he just hasn’t been able to prove himself on the football field. Instead, it’s been par for the course with Ward who is pretty much playing at the same level he was in Oakland.
Former #Raiders DI Jihad Ward has earned a 58.1 defense grade across 40 preseason snaps, ranking 71st among qualifiers at his position.— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) August 22, 2018
Not sure why DAL would cut Ward when he's already in midseason form, tbh. https://t.co/63oIMQdaNa
The about tweet was before the team’s last preseason game against the Houston Texans, and it should be noted that Ward had his best game on Thursday night. But apparently, it was too little too late.
Do you agree with the Cowboys decision to cut Ward?