The 2014 NFL season will be different for the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, they still have Jason Garrett on the sidelines as the head coach and Tony Romo under center. They still have Jerry Jones doing what Jerry does. The change is on the defense where three of their best players are no longer there.
DeMarcus Ware seemed to be on his way to a Hall of Fame career in Big D, but a couple little injuries and big money changed that path. Anthony Spencer had big moments, but injuries shot that down. Just a couple of seasons ago it was arguable that the Cowboys held the best pair of pass rushing DE/OLB’s tandems in the entire league.
Ware was nearing the end of a 6-year, $78 million contract extension and the production wasn’t matching the pay. Jerry Jones made an executive decision and let him go. Spencer was coming off of back-to-back franchise tag’s and the injury concerns caused the Cowboys not to re-sign him. Both of these guys are now gone. Their DT Jason Hatcher led them in sacks last season with 11 and is also gone. Where do they go from here?
Here are the possible options for the Cowboys to garner a pass rush this season.
George Selvie – He filled in nicely during Spencer’s absence and posted a career high 7 sacks. He will be looked upon to become the main attraction on the end. Selvie has bounced around to 4 different teams in his 5 year career. Another solid and more productive season will have him in line for a nice contract from Jones.
Jeremy Mincey – Mincey was signed in the off-season to bring a pass rush with the losses of Ware and Spencer. He has had some productive years early in his career in Jacksonville. He has talent, but he also brings off the field concerns. If he can stay out of trouble and on the field, he could possibly be a good pick up for the Cowboys. As of right now, the jury is still out.
Kyle Wilbur – Wilbur is coming into his 3rd NFL season and has seen his play on the field increase. He recorded 2 sacks last season in 16 games. He has the opportunity to beat Mincey out and earn the 2nd starting spot opposite Selvie. He is undersized to play DE consistently for me and was brought in as more of a OLB pass rushing fit. His success will all depend on how the Cowboys plan to utilize him.
These are the guys on the team that are expected to take the majority of the snaps. Outside of Selvie, I’m not really too impressed by what they have, to get a consistent pass rush on opposing QB’s. It is believed they will target a DT early in the draft, but Jones has a way of doing things that he want.
Here are a few possible prospects for them to target in the draft in the 1st or 2nd round.
Khalil Mack – It is believed that Mack will be off the board in the top 5. Is Jones backtracking off his decision to let Ware walk and willing to give up a lot to move up and draft Mack? Remains to be seen.
Jadeveon Clowney – The same can be said about Clowney as Mack. Are the Cowboys willing to move up and make a splash?
Dee Ford – If the Cowboys stay put, Ford could be an option for them. He missed much of the pre-draft process, but showed potential during the bowl season.
Kony Ealy – He is an option at the Cowboys pick as well. His stock seems to be down now, but that won’t stop Jones if he feels he is the right guy.
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