Cowboys training camp rolls on, and some of the biggest winners from Wednesday’s practice were on the defensive line. Second-year defensive lineman Dorance Armstrong is emerging as somebody that could make a real impact in 2019, while rookie Joe Jackson has even impressed Jerry Jones during training camp.
Armstrong has flashed during training camp already, including when he beat Tyron Smith in a one-on-one drill last week. Here is the video of the former Kansas Jayhawks defender getting by one of the elite offensive linemen in the game, courtesy of Calvin Watkins:
From earlier in the day Dorance Armstrong beats Tyron Smith. pic.twitter.com/N2MrKUIW8T— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 2, 2019
Armstrong has not stopped there, though. There is a real chance for somebody — be it Armstrong, Taco Charlton, or somebody else — to step up and emerge as a player that can give the Cowboys consistent and reliable snaps in the trenches, and that only escalated after news broke that Robert Quinn fractured his hand. With that in mind, Armstrong has kept up the momentum in camp.
On Wednesday, Armstrong seemingly wanted to prove that he could get by not one Cowboys starting offensive tackle, but both of them. After hitting Smith with a nasty spin move, Armstrong faked the same move against La’el Collins:
Fake spin by Armstrong vs La'el #Cowboys gorgeous pic.twitter.com/zMMIsGIk2t— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 8, 2019
Not too shabby for somebody that fell until the fourth round in his draft class and played sparingly during his rookie season. As John Owning noted on Wednesday night, Armstrong has had two of the most impressive pass rushes of camp in Oxnard; and as noted, it is not like he’s been going up against practice squad guys, either.
Dorance Armstrong has had the 2 best pass rushes of the entire camp. The counter spin vs Tyron and the fake spin vs La'el.— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 8, 2019
Heads up! Break out year incoming #Cowboys
Our Connor Livesay had this to say about the Cowboys pass rusher in the practice recap:
If you aren’t familiar with second-year pass rusher Dorance Armstrong, you better do yourself a favor and get interested. Another afternoon practice, another great showing from the 6-foot-4 pass rusher out of Kansas. Armstrong had an okay rookie season last year working as a rotational pass rusher in certain downs-and-distances. From the sights and sounds of camp, he is looking to play a much bigger role in 2019.
The 2016 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year was not the only defensive end to shine in Oxnard; Joe Jackson has also continued his momentum in Cowboys camp. After getting a shout out from Jerry Jones following the Blue-White scrimmage, he had an impressive day yesterday as well.
Jackson is one of two defensive ends that the Cowboys drafted in the latter parts of April’s draft; the other being former Oregon pass rusher Jalen Jelks. Jackson, though, is the one that is seemingly separating himself in practice, albeit he is actually behind Jelks on the preseason depth chart.
Nonetheless, Owning shows some clips of Jackson succeeding in Oxnard recently. First, from Wednesday evening:
Joe Jackson is #good everyone. He's separating himself from Jelks a lot lately. Uncanny how he wins the outside edge consistently. #Cowboys pic.twitter.com/SX8kn2nmy2— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 8, 2019
This from Tuesday:
Joe Jackson wins the corner vs Campos. pic.twitter.com/vaz9GFzwx6— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 7, 2019
Jackson caught the eye of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli from Sunday’s scrimmage:
I know Rod Marinelli LOVED this play from Joe Jackson. outstanding hustle to retrace and chase down Mike Weber on the screen. #Cowboys pic.twitter.com/LAv5zGYr81— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 5, 2019
There has been some debate on whether or not the Cowboys should reserve a roster spot for 2017 first-rounder Taco Charlton after his constant struggles, and it looks like there is some competition now. Armstrong is likely to make the roster, but Jackson is somebody that is pushing to make a case for one of the last spots on the defensive line.
There are still a few more weeks of training camp and preseason football to get through before 53-man roster spots are finalized, but positional battles are certainly heating up in Oxnard.