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Cowboys stat overview: Dorance Armstrong’s emergence

Dorance Armstrong has been the most improved Cowboys player in 2022, but how good has he actually been?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Going into 2018, Dorance Armstrong was labeled as a project pick that could pan out years down the line which was solid for his draft slot at 116 in the fourth round. In his second season Armstrong flashed, tallying 10 pressures, two sacks, three quarterback hits, five hurries, and nine stops on just 262 snaps. The problem was that once Randy Gregory returned from suspension in 2020 and was incredible, many believed he would stick around for the rest of his career with DeMarcus Lawrence on the other side of him. Armstrong only had one year left on his deal by then and regardless of how well he played in 2021, things were looking bad. That is until Randy Gregory backed out of re-signing with the Dallas Cowboys at the very last second and Dallas chose to re-sign Armstrong almost immediately after.

While Dallas was always planning to extend Randy Gregory over Dorance Armstrong, Armstrong has proven that Gregory leaving might’ve been a blessing in disguise when taking into consideration the value and availability on top of Armstrong’s leap. So far in 2022, Armstrong has played 133 pass rush snaps (55th) but has 17 pressures (31st), five sacks (10th), three quarterback hits (33rd), and nine stops (33rd).

Not only has Armstrong proven to be a more than solid starter when given opportunity, but he’s had impact plays on special teams too. In Week 3 when the Cowboys traveled to New York, he blocked a PAT and two weeks later followed that up with a crucial strip sack on the first drive of the game against the Los Angeles Rams that led to a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Later in that same Rams game, he blocked a punt that led to three points meaning he was responsible for nine points in a game the Cowboys won by 12. Throughout the first six weeks of the 2022 season, no one has a higher special teams grade than Dorance Armstrong (93.2).

While Armstrong has had some opportunities reduced due to Micah Parsons increased role as a defensive end, he’s solidified himself as one of the many building blocks on the Cowboys defense for a long time.

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