I had a difficult time trying to determine the Cowboys’ biggest surprise in 2013 because they have a lot of talented players who won’t necessarily see much playing time. Some of my options included James Hanna, Ronald Leary, Lance Dunbar and Matt Johnson. I settled on defensive end George Selvie.
Earlier this preseason, I wrote an article explaining why I think Selvie will be special. Here’s a peek at that:
Prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, I published an article suggesting that height is strongly correlated with NFL success for pass-rushers. But that doesn’t mean that being tall is the cause for success. Instead, I think height is correlated with something that’s really, really important for pass-rushers: arm length. Defensive ends need to be able to get off the blocks of offensive tackles, and that’s really challenging if their arms aren’t long enough to maintain separation. Once an offensive tackle gets his hands into the chest of a pass-rusher, the battle is pretty much over.
Selvie isn’t tall for a pass-rusher, but his arms are massive at 34.5 inches. Selvie—a Freshman All-American in 2006 and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2007—has used that trait to acquire three sacks already this preseason.
Having said that, there’s a good chance that Selvie won’t produce big numbers in 2013 simply because he won’t see enough snaps. In trying to project a true surprise, however, I’m looking for a potentially elite player who could really break out if there’s an injury ahead of him. Selvie fits the bill.
WINNER: George Selvie