The Cowboys seem to be gearing up to get after the quarterback plenty. After taking Micah Parsons in the first round and using their first of three different third-round picks on Osa Odighizuwa, the Cowboys spent the 84th overall pick, which they acquired after trading down in the first round, on Iowa EDGE Chauncey Golston.
For those familiar with the Iowa Hawkeyes football program, Golston very much fits the profile of other edge rushers to come out of Iowa in recent years. That means Golston is a fierce, technically-sound player who doesn’t possess top-end athleticism. But he gets results: over three years as a starter for the Hawkeyes, Golston registered 127 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, seven swatted passes, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble.
Measuring in at 6’5” and 268 pounds, Golston is a bigger edge player and uses that to his advantage. He’s not the kind of athlete who’s going to blow by offensive linemen, unless he times the snap perfectly, but Golston has a good combination of strength, length, and hand technique.
But Golston’s calling card by far is his skills on run defense. He knows how to set the edge and seal off the space running backs want to cut outside. Golston also does a good job of reading the play, diagnosing, and getting in position to make a play on the ballcarrier. That has to be a major reason for Dallas feeling good about taking him this high, since their run defense was dismal for most of the 2020 season.
The Cowboys also have Randy Gregory, who is likely going to command a majority of the snaps at right defensive end on pass rushing downs with Tarell Basham and possibly Odighizuwa spelling him at times. But Golston can offer a lot of value on early downs with his run defense without sacrificing too much pass rushing presence.
Golston is also versatile, which has been a common theme for the Cowboys’ other draft picks so far. Iowa lined him up all over, and he excelled at whatever they asked. He has the size to swing inside and play some defensive tackle on pass rushing downs, though that seems unlikely to happen much in Dallas given their roster. Letting Golston stick at one position and master it could be best for him, and allow him to turn into a prominent edge-setting run defender.
The final thing to note about Golston is that he possesses valuable experience as a three-year starter at Iowa. Both Parsons and Kelvin Joseph had very little experience but raw potential, while Golston is a well-developed role player. He was one of the highest-graded defenders at the Senior Bowl, according to Pro Football Focus, and check out who else appeared on that list: