Ratliff’s Out, So What’s Left? Scouting The Cowboys “Scrubs”

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Drake Nevis – backup defensive tackle

The Cowboys signed Nevis barely a month ago, one week after the Chargers released him. The former all-SEC and second-team All-American out of LSU was picked up by the Colts in the third round of the 2010 draft, but waived after two seasons where he saw little playing time.

Head coach Jason Garrett is on the record saying the Cowboys 4-3 is a good fit for the 24-year-old’s skill set – a high-motor, attack style of play that can pressure the pocket and get after the quarterback.

Oct 21, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Drake Nevis (94) reacts after the Colts stop the Cleveland Browns on a 4th down play in the 4th quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Cleveland 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

So far the 294-pound tackle has played 73 snaps in three games and grades out well on Pro Football Focus, earning a +1.2 rating and being particularly effective against the pass. Nevis is the kind of mid high-end draft talent that can get lost in the wrong system. Watch his production in the coming weeks – it will tell a lot about Marinelli’s ability to mold and develop quality talent.

Nevis is backing up Hatcher at the 3-technique. He isn’t likely to displace the 31-year-old – this year anyway. But with Hatcher in a contract year and GM Jerry Jones showing a newfound unwillingness to invest long-term money in aging veterans (Anthony Spencer?), Nevis could be viewed as Hatcher’s eventual replacement. It’s early yet, but the tools are there.

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