The Cowboys' defense was putrid for most of the 2013 season, and they are in even worse shape with the loss of DeMarcus Ware. However, the Cowboys have the opportunity to help remedy that situation by way of the 2014 NFL draft.
A great way to start remedying the situation would be to draft Oregon State's Scott Crichton in the second round.
Even though the Cowboys brought Anthony Spencer back, they are still in desperate need of help at both defensive end positions.
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The Cowboys don't have any players, outside of Spencer, that have had much production in the NFL. Even Spencer is coming off of microfracture knee surgery; therefore, it is hard to have high expectations for him.
According to NFL.com, four of the teams that ranked in the top five in scoring defense also ranked in the top 10 in sacks.
The Cowboys were ranked 25th in sacks for the 2013 season. Therefore, the Cowboys need to find players that can get to the quarterback often.
If the Cowboys land Crichton in the second round, it would go a long to toward remedying that problem not only next year but for the future as well.
Crichton has a solid frame at 6'3" and 273 pounds with 32.75" arms.
The first thing Crichton brings to the fields is relentless effort; he rarely if ever takes a play off. Crichton makes a lot of plays by using his power and superior leverage to get to the ball-carrier. He rarely stays blocked because of his relentless pursuit of the ball.
Also, Crichton is usually the first person off the line, which shows great snap anticipation and initial burst. Crichton uses good hands to keep blockers off his body, and he is rarely ever on the ground.
Here is a play that demonstrates all of Crichton's best qualities (skip to 6:51):
Here, Crichton is lined up outside the left tackle. Crichton comes off the ball and uses a great slap and swim pass-rushing technique to beat the tackle to the outside. As Crichton comes around the corner, the guard comes over to help. Crichton bull rushes the guard and walks him back a step, disengages and gets the sack.
Crichton displayed his great hand usage, power and relentless attack all in one play.
Crichton will not only help the Cowboys with the pass rush—he also brings the ability to be a good run defender.
Crichton uses his power, length and aggression to make a myriad of plays in the rushing game as well.
However, Crichton does tend to get too high at times both against the run and the pass, which will need to get corrected once he gets into the NFL. He also doesn't have elite speed; he wouldn't be an ideal fit as the weak-side defensive end.
Nevertheless, Crichton would fit it in nicely at strong-side defensive end. Crichton has the power, strength, length and initial burst to be a great fit in Rod Marinelli's 4-3 defense.
If Spencer is not physically ready to play early in the season, Crichton would be a solid replacement. Even if Spencer was back by then, Crichton would be a fantastic rotational player that could bring instant impact by both rushing the passer and defending the run.
If Crichton is on the board when the Cowboys pick at No. 47, they would be foolish to not heavily consider him.