With a defense that struggled as much as the Dallas Cowboys last season, every semi-big defensive player’s name that comes across the free agent wire is going to be considered as a possible positive addition to their roster. On Wednesday, the newest name became former San Diego Charger Larry English. The former first round pick out of Northern Illinois in 2009 was cut by the Chargers after five injury-plagued seasons.
Certainly, English deserves at least a courtesy look by the Cowboys. The team has a giant hole in the middle of their linebacker corps to fill after tragically losing their defensive captain, Sean Lee, to a season-ending knee injury earlier this offseason. I’d imagine the Cowboys front office will do their due diligence. They have already taken a flier on former first round bust and linebacker Rolando McClain for the very same reasons. It’s not a big leap to think they could do the same with English.
According to Bryan Broaddous of DallasCowboys.com, he believes the Cowboys would only consider signing English if their was an emergency need for him.
— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) July 23, 2014
After being selected as the 16th overall pick in 2009 by the Chargers, English failed to live up to the billing. In his five seasons in San Diego, he recorded a total of 91 tackles and 11.0 sacks. English had 51 tackles and 11.5 sacks in his sophomore season at Northern Illinois alone. Injuries, mainly having to do with is right foot, have limited English to playing only one full season as a professional, which was in his rookie year. After the Chargers drafted linebacker Jerry Attaochu in the second-round of this year’s NFL Draft, English’s time in sunny San Diego appeared to be numbered.
Regardless, there is some talent still untapped in the 28-year old. Before last season, English was praised by teammate Jarret Johnson in an interview on Chargers.com after starting linebacker Melvin Ingram went down with a season-ending injury.
““(English) has got experience and a ton of talent. He had a rough go with injuries early in his career which has kept him back, but the dude can outright play. If we didn’t have a veteran, high caliber player like Larry we’d really be hurting. There were times last year, especially in training camp when he had more of a chance to show it, he was basically unblockable. With the pass rushers we had last year it was hard for him to get on the field, so this is a clean start for Larry. It’s a great opportunity for him and he’s earned it. So thank God we have Larry English.”
Bottom line: the Cowboys would most likely risk next to nothing bringing English in on a “prove it” short term deal. And it would certainly be in-line with their current philosophy this offseason of signing players who need a second chance. Players like running back Ryan Williams, wide receivers LaRon Byrd and Dezmon Briscoe, defensive tackles Terrell McClain and Amobi Okoye, and quarterback Brandon Weeden. This team is full of players exactly like English. And the Cowboys have a need at the position. It’s a bit of a no-brainer.