Matt Thornton: The Dallas Cowboys have had a significant amount of transition in their starting defensive line this offseason. They lost two of their key starters DeMarcus Ware to Denver and Jason Hatcher to Washington? How do you think you could contribute on the Cowboys line this year?
Jerrod Black: With some great pass rushers at the end, I can get sacks, collapse the pocket, and play the run whether it’s isolation or zone, whatever, I can do all those things pretty well. I could come in and help the Cowboys immediately with depth or just commanding the double team and stuffing the run.
Matt Thornton: Do you believe you’re a better fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, and why?
Jerrod Black: To be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me. I love playing 4-3, but being on top of the center in a 3-4 is fine as well. I’ve learned and played both, so I can do either. At Iowa State, 4-3 was our base defense, but we would switch to a 3-4 with certain teams. You really have to be versatile in the league, and I believe I am.
Matt Thornton: At the peak of his Cowboys career, Jay Ratliff was considered by many to be somewhat undersized and played the 0 technique in former head coach Wade Phillips defense. He was especially adept at backfield disruption from the nose tackle position. How much 0 technique have you played in your career?
Jerrod Black: I’ve played a lot of zero technique. I watched Jay Ratliff’s film plenty of times, so I’ve studied a lot and I think I can play the zero technique especially well.
Matt Thornton: As follow-up to the defensive scheme question, do you consider yourself more of a 1 technique run-stuffer or 3 technique with some pass rushing tendencies, and why?
Jerrod Black: I can honestly do both. As a run stopper, I love to get in and fill the gaps since I like to play with power. But if I need to move over and play in the three I’ve got moves and techniques which will help me get a good pass rush from the three spot or turn it back in, whatever they need me to do.
Matt Thornton: Who do you consider to be the best offensive lineman you’ve ever played against?
Jerrod Black: The best guy I’ve ever played against was starting left tackle Nate Solder from the Patriots. He played at the University of Colorado and he was a beast.
Matt Thornton: Who do you compare yourself to in the NFL today?
Jerrod Black: That’s funny you ask, because everyone at the 4th and Inches facility calls me “Baby Wilfork” (New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork). I like to model my game after him. My father was a guard in high school and college, and he played with (former Pittsburgh Steeler nose tackle) Casey “Big Snack” Hampton, Jr. so I’ve watched his game my whole life too, and like to play like him. I study those big guys in the middle the most.