One of the weakest positions on the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 was undoubtedly the 1-technique defensive tackle position. This led to many people projecting that the Cowboys would address this need in the early rounds. However, the Cowboys' front office decided to fill other needs.
In the seventh round, the Cowboys finally opted to bring in competition for the much-maligned Nick Hayden when they drafted Northern Illinois' Ken Bishop.
Even though the 1-technique defensive tackle position is not one of the most important on this defense, the hope is that Bishop can bring at least average production to a position that was awful last year.
|Year||Games||Tackles||Tackles for Loss||Sacks||Production Ratio|
On most occasions, it is hard to tell how impactful or disruptive a defensive tackle is through stats. However, it may be a little troubling to see Bishop's stats include a high number of tackles but a relatively small amount of tackles for loss. This may point to Bishop not getting enough push to play on the opponents' side of the line of scrimmage.
Bishop's production ratio point to him being a better fit as a 1-technique rather than 3-technique defensive tackle.
|Height||Weight||Arm Length||Hand Size|
Bishop has the size to play either the 1- or 3-technique defensive tackle position. He has adequate arm length allowing him to keep offensive linemen off his body. His arm length could also allow him to be able to stack and shed better than many other defensive tackles.
Bishop isn't very tall, so he should be able to get lower then any offensive lineman and utilize superior leverage, in theory.
Pro Day Results
|Bench Press||40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Split||Broad Jump||20-Yard Shuttle||3-Cone Drill|
|31||5.21 Seconds||1.80 Seconds||8' 02"||4.82 Seconds||8.02 Seconds|
Bishop showed that he isn't very athletic, as expected with someone his size. Bishop's 10-yard split further points to the fact that his best position is the 1-technique defensive tackle.
Since the 1-technique mostly takes on double teams and is not relied on to give much pass rushing, strength is much more important then quickness. 31 reps of 225 pounds prove that Bishop is not lacking in the strength department.
One of the biggest takeaways from watching Bishop's film is that he gives great effort. Not often do you see 300-pound defensive tackles making tackles 10 to 20 yards down the field. However, Bishop makes these types of plays on a regular basis.
This type of effort is clearly shown in this clip (go to 7:56, player No. 93 with dreads):
The only downside of this kind of effort is that Bishop will often look very tired for small stretches, which renders him ineffective. However, this can be easily fixed with a good conditioning program.
Another thing you would notice about Bishop is that he is a very powerful player. For Bishop this was a double-edged sword. On one side, Bishop can make plays because of his superior strength and effort; yet, on the other side this seems to have led to deficiencies in Bishop's technique.
The main deficiency is that Bishop's pad level is too high on almost every snap. Because Bishop is upright, he relies on pure strength instead of leverage and technique. This will not work in the NFL because all the offensive linemen are exceptionally strong.
Watch almost any snap from any game that Bishop played and you will see a player slow off the snap. This is not because of snap anticipation or quickness—it is because his first move off the snap is up and not forward, causing him to be slow off the snap regularly. Plus, as stated above, it gets his pad level too high. This often leads to Bishop engaging with the lineman on his own side of the line of scrimmage.
The goal of a defensive lineman should always be to play at least half a yard on the opponents' side of the line of scrimmage, on most plays. This can be done by good snap anticipation, adequate quickness and getting low to create leverage.
However, even with these problems, Bishop was still able to make plays because of his effort and strength.
For example at 0:19 of the above video, you see Bishop lined up at standing defensive end position. At the snap, Bishop doesn't come overly quick and his pad level isn't ideal. Nonetheless, Bishop uses his raw strength to jolt the tackle back and out of the way, showcasing the strength that makes him a good option at the 1-technique position.
Fit on Cowboys' Defense
With Nick Hayden out, Ken Bishop takes his spot at 1-technique.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) June 2, 2014
Even though the majority of Bishop's snaps were at the 3-technique spot at Northern Illinois, he seems like a better fit for the 1-technique position on the Cowboys.
Bishop should immediately be in the rotation at 1-technique and could even challenge for a starting spot. However, Bishop must fix his pad level and first movement if he wants to be effective at all.
Bishop is primarily a two-down player at this point in his career. He doesn't utilize many pass-rushing moves and very rarely gets pressure on the quarterback.
He can be utilized as a run-stuffing defensive tackle on first and second down, with the hope that he can develop into an adequate pass-rusher.
For a seventh-round pick, Bishop can bring great value and help fill a huge hole along the Cowboys' defensive line.