Can Cowboys Find Help on Defense?
FRISCO, TX – The Cowboys have officially completed the signing of their entire draft class with last week’s inking of rookie defensive tackle Maliek Collins to a four-year deal.
Collins – a 6’2”, 300 lb third-rounder from Nebraska with pass-rush skills, suffered a broken foot in OTAs earlier this offseason. The hope is he’s back on the field sometime late in Cowboys’ training camp in Oxnard. When that happens, assuming health elsewhere, there will suddenly be help alongside and behind veteran 3-technique guy (playing the gap between the guard and the tackle) Tyrone Crawford – who Dallas views as a budding star.
Newly-signed Cedric Thornton (formerly of the Eagles) can be a play-maker at either inside spot. And Terrell McClain has always been highly-regarded here but is never been healthy; he returns from a toe injury which cause him to miss nearly all of 2015 but he will get chances as the 1-tech (playing the gap between the center and guard).
The Cowboys can also use position flex guys like David Irving and Jack Crawford inside. But hopefully late in camp they will begin to see the emergence of Collins, who was an upfield force at Nebraska with size, motor and smarts.
Dallas believes it has “true-contender” type talent within most of its other position groups — certainly on offense, with Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and rookie Ezekiel Elliott being the top skill-position guys behind the Cowboys’ elite O-line. But 10 days before the start of training camp in Oxnard, this team has issues at defensive end due to early-season suspensions.
Conventional wisdom says the Cowboys’ “best defense will be their great offense.” But maybe the solutions for the most obvious flaw (defensive end weaknesses outside) also come with strength and depth inside.