DeMarcus Ware was Cowboys' version of Dwight Freeney

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Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) tackles Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I believe their options are limited based on their age, nobody should expect them to get better. It’s possible, but not the norm. I believe in loyalty and wouldn’t be upset if they returned at a reasonable cost. I wouldn’t be bothered if they took more money to play elsewhere. I’m more concerned that the Cowboys have three fourths of their defensive line resting on the knees of three players in excess of 30. Loyalty, even for me, has it’s limitations and it’s easier to say goodbye if there are future stars on the horizon. At wide receiver, Terrance Williams made Miles Austin expendable but nobody like that exists on our defensive line.

The Carolina Panthers led the NFL with 60 sacks. Their defensive line consists of: Charles Johnson (27 years old / 11 sacks), Colin Cole (33 / 1), Star Lotulelei (24 / 3) and Greg Hardy (25 / 15). Their backups: Frank Alexander (24 / 1), Dwan Alexander (32 / 3), Kawann Short (25 / 1.5), Mario Addison (26 / 2.5) and Wes Horton (24 / 2.5) – have all contributed and filled with youth. That’s 40.5 total sacks from this group at an average age of 26.67. That’s a group with potential.

The Cowboys ranked 25th with 34 sacks. We also started more combinations of defensive linemen than any team. Based on injuries, I think 34 is a good number, but there is definitely room for improvement. That improvement could start immediately with better draft picks.

Cowboys Defensive Line Draft Picks Since 2005


Draft Position

Marcus Spears – DE

2005 – 1st / 20th

Chris Canty – DE

2005 – 4th / 132nd

Jay Ratliff – DE

2005 – 7th / 224th

Jason Hatcher – DE

2006 – 3rd / 92nd

Montavious Stanley – DT

2006 – 6th / 182nd

Anthony Spencer – DE

2007 – 1st / 26th

Erik Walden – DE

2008 – 6th / 167th

Brandon Williams – DE

2009 – 4th / 120th

Sean Lissemore – DT

2010 – 7th / 234th

Tyrone Crawford – DE

2012 – 3rd / 81st

With few exceptions, the Cowboys haven’t struck gold with their defensive line draft picks. In fact, it’s treated almost as an afterthought. With three picks, our defensive line could get younger, affordable and our pass rush faster overnight. Otherwise, neglecting our defensive line in the draft and depending on three players over 30 to last 17 games and a playoff run – could easily come back to haunt us. 


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