As soon as the Randy Gregory news came down on Tuesday afternoon, Cowboys Nation began to panic. After seeing Gregory start to put it all together in 2018, he will now head back to the suspended list indefinitely until reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell. For Gregory, this time is for him to get himself right off the field. For the Cowboys, they will now need to plan for his absence if he indeed is suspended through the 2019 season.
With Dorance Armstrong, Taco Charlton, and Tyrone Crawford also on the roster as defensive ends, the Cowboys have options to varying degrees, but a reinforcement would surely be valuable, one that could actually produce. There may be a few of those guys left on the board when the Cowboys are on the clock in the second round.
Jaylon Ferguson - Louisiana Tech - 6’5” 262-lbs
Wonder what Rod Marinelli would think about landing an EDGE rusher with 45 career sacks in four years at Louisiana Tech? I would bet he’d be thrilled to death. Jaylon Ferguson is coming into the NFL as one of the most productive college football EDGE’s to ever play the game. Ferguson could have been a likely top 100 pick in the 2018 NFL draft, but decided to go back to school for his senior year after having a newborn son.
Ferguson ended up ending his senior campaign the NCAA and C-USA’s leading sacker in 2018 with 17.5 sacks. Ferguson is a pass rusher that wins due to his ability to convert his speed to power, as well as playing with great hand technique throughout his rush. Ferguson also showed the ability to play the run on the edge consistently at Louisiana Tech. While not being the most flexible EDGE in this class, Ferguson did show signs off being able to bend and change directions when rushing the passer. Ferguson also plays with tremendous power in his upper body, which allows him to control blockers at the point of attack due to his technique and strength.
Combine week will be huge for Jaylon Ferguson to prove that his production at Louisiana Tech is matched by the athleticism needed at the next level. With the production he had at school, if Ferguson can test above average as an athlete, his stock will start to rise, let’s just hope it doesn’t take him out of the Cowboys draft range.
Former Louisiana Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson, the NCAA’s all-time leader in career sacks (45), gets to the QB for the first time in the Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/W8h8w6ghXL— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) January 26, 2019
Christian Miller - Alabama - 6’4” 245-lbs
Christian Miller is one of the more underrated EDGE rushers in the upcoming NFL draft. While it took Miller until his senior year to make his mark on the Crimson Tide defense, he surely did not disappoint in his senior campaign registering eight sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and 34 total tackles playing as an OLB in Alabama’s scheme.
Christian Miller is a guy whose best years of football are ahead of him. Playing in the nation’s most talented defense, Miller had to wait his turn before being able to showcase his skill-set to the world. Miller is a very flexible rusher who can bend with the best of them. Miller shows tremendous lower body flexibility in his ankles, knees, and hips to flatten his rush path to the quarterback without slowing his rush speed. Miller also plays with great length for an EDGE and uses his impressive length to his advantage when rushing the passer and defending the run, something he does very well for an undersized guy.
The negatives with Miller come in with production, and the injuries. Throughout his four years at Alabama, Miller has suffered multiple injuries that have slowed his development. When healthy, Christian Miller is one of the better pass rushers in this draft. If he’s still hanging around when the Cowboys are on the clock at 58, the Cowboys would be wise to consider drafting the former Crimson Tide defender.
Christian Miller dipping around the edge to create that tight arc is what I live for. Great flexibility and it shows. He’s a Top 40 guy in the class. pic.twitter.com/q6kMaV1Eid— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 18, 2019
L.J. Collier - Texas Christian - 6’4” 275-lbs
This is a name that’s starting to pick up quite a bit of steam around Cowboys Nation. L.J. Collier fits more of the Christian Miller makeup than the Jaylon Ferguson. Registering 14.5 sacks in his four years at TCU, Collier is entering the league as one of the more versatile defensive lineman in this years draft class.
Collier listed on the bigger side of the spectrum at 6’4” 275-lbs, has more of a strong-side defensive end build, but would have no issues playing as a weak-side defensive end in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme. For his size, Collier has good bend, and show great flexibility in his legs and hips. While lacking burst, Collier has shown the ability to convert speed to power, and plays with a relentless effort when rushing the passer. Collier has a great bull rush move that he showcased throughout his years at TCU, and did show the ability to bend which is rare for a man of his size. Collier had an awesome week at the Senior Bowl earlier this year, and helped his draft stock tremendously with a great week against some of the best competition in this draft class.
When looking for comps for L.J. Collier, Cowboys’ DL Tyrone Crawford is one that makes a ton of sense. Though I’d say that Collier’s ceiling is much higher as a pass rusher due to his flexibility and technique. Collier can play both inside and out for Rod Marinelli’s defense, and would bring a nasty attitude to the Cowboys locker room that is much needed to get the Hot Boyz back to being hot again.
Watching more LJ Collier (@ljcollier91) with @PFF_Mike at the office because he's a BIG fan... Came across this play from the Alamo Bowl in 2017.— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 23, 2019
YEESH. Collier's bull rush is destructive, should translate to the next level. pic.twitter.com/ZKzWchbZEn
This week was supposed to be safeties, but with the Randy Gregory news, a last minute switch of positions was necessary. Next week we’ll take a look at three safeties the Cowboys could target with the 58th overall pick. Be sure to check back in as we go through these position groups for the Cowboys to target with the 58th overall pick in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.