The Dallas Cowboys have some great talent along the defensive line. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say something like that. They have All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who has emerged as one of the game’s top edge rushers. They added Robert Quinn to give them some experience on the other side. On the inside, Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods hold down the middle. They also selected defensive tackle Trysten Hill with their top draft resource in April. And let’s not forget that the all-purpose Tyrone Crawford can play both on the outside as well as inside. In short, the defensive line is stacked.
While the Cowboys are in good shape with the starters, they also have some pretty intriguing players farther along the depth chart. How things play out in training camp will go a long way in sorting out their roster, but two guys off to a great start are former Kansas Jayhawk stars Dorance Armstrong and Daniel Wise.
Armstrong has been getting extra reps with Lawrence still recovering from shoulder surgery, and he ‘s making them count. Going against swing tackle Cam Fleming in drills, Armstong got the better of him. He was quick off the snap and used his hands to push into Fleming’s body, throwing him off balance, allowing him a clean shot at a would-be quarterback.
Dorance Armstrong off to a hot start in one on ones vs Fleming— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) July 29, 2019
Armstrong has been performing well in camp and has a shot to earn some decent playing time along the defensive end rotation. With Randy Gregory’s situation up in the air, and Taco Charlton still trying to get things going for himself, the door is open for Armstrong to steal some reps. Last year, he was a rookie and had a lot to learn. Year two could show us a different player, and don’t be surprised if Armstrong is a name we hear more of as the season progresses.
While Armstrong’s spot on the roster seems relatively safe, the same is not true for his undrafted free agent teammate, Daniel Wise. With Crawford, Collins, Woods, and Hill all roster locks, there isn’t a lot of room for other bodies along the interior defensive line. Christian Covington is a free agent that should put up a fight for a role on the team, and Daniel Ross has gained some experience that gives him an outside shot as well. So, where does that leave Wise?
Well, true to what head coach Jason Garrett preaches - everyone has a shot. And so far in camp, Wise is making some good strides. He explodes off the snap, beats his opponents, and has been disruptive to the quarterback. Wise started impressing in OTA’s and minicamp, and apparently his strong performance is continuing along into training camp.
Daniel Wise is 3 for 3 in one on ones so far :)— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) July 30, 2019
The only thing working against him is that Wise hasn’t really been challenged. His blockers have been backup linemen, so it’s unclear, how he would perform against top tier opponents like Zack Martin and Travis Frederick? Maybe if Wise continues to play well, he’ll get those opportunities.
It’s early, but these two former-Jayhawk players are off to a nice start. Can they keep it up and solidify a role on this Cowboys team?