As the 2014 NFL Draft approaches, the Cowboys must put all of their focus into fixing a defensive line that deployed 20 different players in 2013. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Cowboys graded 30th in run defense (-98.5) and 24th overall in defensive pass rush (-24.6).
Not exactly the result that Jerry Jones was hoping for when he brought in Monte Kiffin.
The Tampa 2 defense relies heavily upon pressure created by defensive linemen—pressure that was lacking last season and contributed considerably to the team allowing a league worst 415.3 yards per game.
Queue Oregon State’s Scott Crichton.
Crichton, a projected second-round pick, is a hard-working defensive end who possesses good size (6’3”, 273 lbs) and speed (4.84 40-yard dash, 4.29 20-yard shuttle). He’s explosive off the line and uses a balance of speed and power to beat his opponents. While he does lack a superior pass-rushing repertoire, his overall athleticism indicates that he can be productive immediately and develop in both size and skill under defensive line guru Rod Marinelli.
Simply put, Crichton belongs in Dallas.
It’s no secret at this point that Marinelli relies on his “rushmen” and the departure of DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jason Hatcher have left an already underachieving group decimated. While the team made a great acquisition with former Marinelli pupil Henry Melton, the defensive line still has glaring deficiencies.
Selecting Crichton would give Marinelli a blue-collar player with a nonstop motor who is coming off of a college career that saw him amass 165 tackles, 22.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. Worst-case scenario is that Crichton becomes a valuable rotational defensive end that vastly improves the team’s depth at the position. Best-case scenario? Crichton translates his “do-it-all” style of play to the NFL and evolves into a perennial pro-bowler.
Jerry Jones’ approach to this offseason has been brilliant and selecting Crichton would be his best move yet.