No NFL executive or scout can guarantee that a first-round pick is going to be the next star on your football team, but in the case of Anthony Spencer, I am not sure anyone expected him to look this bad.
The Dallas Cowboys made the big mistake of letting Greg Ellis go and giving the starting spot to Spencer, the former 27th first-round pick, who this past winter was charged with disorderly conduct at a nightclub he refused to leave. Spencer, in his starting role, has nine tackles. Yep. Nine tackles. No sacks. This has to be one of those incredible talent scouting efforts from head coach Wade Phillips, because obviously he saw something in Spencer that we did not.
For one, he had 1.5 sacks last year, and just three in his rookie year. He had less tackles last season than he did in his rookie season. Why the Cowboys coaching staff thought he had the talent to step it up is beyond me. Ellis is a superior player, and he certainly helped DeMarcus Ware reach that 20-sack season.
Now Spencer and Ware are sackless.
So to whom do the Cowboys turn? Did anyone see rookie Victor Butler play against the Carolina Panthers? Here is a guy drafted in the fourth round and in his very first game he plowed over the offensive line to get two sacks late in the game. He also forced a fumble in the game.
The Cowboys need to put pressure on Spencer now, and bring Butler in immediately if he continues to struggle. This game against the 3-0 Denver Broncos is important for a number of reasons, but chiefly because the Cowboys need to win to stay in the NFC East race.
Don’t be surprised if Butler soon sends Spencer to the bench permanently.