After a slow beginning to the off-season, the Dallas Cowboys have begun to ramp up with trading for Robert Quinn (DE) and resigning their sack leader Demarcus Lawrence (DE). Even with the new addition to the defensive line, the Cowboys are still in need of help up front.
In 18 games the Cowboys’ defensive line racked up 31.5 sacks, while also being top 10 against the run. The front line was able to put pressure on opposing teams, all while also plugging up holes for running backs.
Even with the success after last year’s season, Dallas will still look to add some playmakers to bolster their defensive wall. This draft class is filled with maulers that are itching to sack QBs alongside “Tank” Lawrence. With Dallas only having 6 picks this year (none in the 1st round) it’ll be tough to get top-notch players. However, we’ll dive in to check out some players that could potentially join “Rod Marinelli’s orphanage”
Gerald Willis Miami (DL) – Projected Round 3
“The U” has been known to produce solid players throughout the NFL. Willis had a great performance in his senior year while racking up 4 sacks as a 3 technique lineman. Bringing in a boulder like Willis would be a big help in plugging up the middle. The high risk, high reward method is very real with a player like Willis. His burst and the quick first step are what led him to 18 tackles for loss, 2nd since 2006 only to Calais Campbell. He’s had a few off the field issues, however, coaches speak highly of him after taking a year off to gather himself. With Maliek Collins struggling to stay healthy, Willis seems to be a good option to plug and play.
Trysten Hill UCF (DL) – Projected Round 5
The 1 technique is a position that the Cowboys don’t tend to draft too high. This is where a player like Trysten could come into play for Dallas. A mid/late round pick that eats space as well as anyone in this draft class. Hill plays more aggressively than what his combine numbers show. The tape on him will also show that his length is an issue, but he more than makes up for it with his ability to disrupt plays in the middle. The run defense would benefit from having a big bodied player like Hill.
L.J. Collier TCU (DL) – Projected Round 4
The Texas native has had himself a productive, yet not flashy career thus far. Collier was still able to put up 6 sacks in his final year as a Horned frog. While he may not be a true pass rusher, Collier isn’t afraid to get dirty and put in the work in order for his teammates to make the plays. He has a knack for playing well against the run while setting the edge with his incredible strength. The thing that may attract him to Marinelli the most could be his undeniable motor that never seems to stop.
Keke Kingsley Texas A&M (DL) – Projected Round 4
Having two straight seasons with over 50 tackles as a defensive tackle isn’t easy. Yet somehow Kingsley managed just that, along with 7.5 sacks in his senior year. Kingsley has an incredible ability to bend from a 3 technique position which allows him to derail the pocket quicker than most. However, he tends to take too long to reach top speed, and also needs to work on his consistency. This is where he’d benefit greatly from Marinelli which could make him a top of the line player for many years to come.
Jaylon Ferguson LA Tech (DL) – Projected Round 2
Easily the most intriguing prospect heading into the draft is Jaylon Ferguson. Over the past 4 seasons, he’s put up 45 sacks and 67.5 tackles for loss. Even though LA Tech isn’t a top school, both of those are All-Time NCAA records. Ferguson was uninvited from the NFL Combine due to a fight he was involved in before he even played college football. Since joining college football, Jaylon has been a great student, and an even better teammate according to his team. Ferguson will be an incredible asset for someone that takes a shot at him. His talents all suggest that he’ll be more than successful in the NFL. If Dallas lands him in the 2nd round, they will be set for many years to come with an unstoppable duo at DEs.
These players are all a possibility to land in Dallas, but ultimately that decision isn’t made here. The draft draws nearer by the day and we’ll go through as many prospects as possible.
The Cowboys still have plenty of holes to fill in order to get this team back into the playoffs this year. Next week we’ll see what other players could be in Dallas’ future, so stay tuned.
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