What Does Randy Gregory Mean For The Dallas Cowboys?


For those wanting to see the building of a dominant defense by the Dallas Cowboys, good news all the way around:

University of Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory was chosen in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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As early as January, some mock drafts had Gregory listed just beneath names like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.

That’s right; Gregory was an early offseason rival of USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams as perhaps the best defensive player available in this year’s player selection meeting.

But then came word of a failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine in February and also a rather light weigh-in at the same event. The result was a remarkable slide in the draft that rivals that of current Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant in 2010 or even Randy Moss back in 1998.

Whenever you can grab a top-10 talent in the second round, you do it, period. When the said top-10 talent fills the most urgent need of the offseason, it becomes a no-brainer.

Recent free-agent acquisition Greg Hardy already added a new dimension to the Dallas front four given his obvious talent and versatility. At 6’4” and around 275, the former Carolina Panthers star has the ability to line up at either defensive end or inside at defensive tackle on passing downs.

Having said that, Hardy will have to survive a 10-game suspension handed down earlier this month by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Even in the event this suspension is reduced following Hardy’s appeal, which it might, Dallas still has to survive at least a month of the regular season without it’s best pass-rusher.

Gregory fixes all of that.

While Hardy can move up and down the line, depending on the situation, Gregory offers a different type of versatility.

Gregory lined up pretty much everywhere not considered the secondary while with the Cornhuskers. At 6’5” and 235 pounds, he’s got the quickness to drop back into coverage and also play in the middle of the field.

Frankly, deciding how exactly to use Gregory while he adds some weight, which he’ll have to do, should be a delicious problem for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

Further, Gregory’s acquisition offers insurance in the event Hardy ends up playing elsewhere in 2016, a distinct possibility.

Perhaps best of all, owner and general manager Jerry Jones inadvertently kept Gregory out of the hands of NFL powers like the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots, three franchises selecting the next four players after Dallas to end the second round.

No, it might not be the second coming of “Doomsday” just yet, but adding Gregory is huge for the Cowboys defensive front.

Now the addition of defensive back Byron Jones in the first round of this year’s player selection meeting starts to take on a different meaning.

Honestly, ends like George Selvie, now elsewhere, and Jeremy Mincey were not going to help create much in the way of coverage sacks, the main reason I didn’t want to see the Cowboys arming up on cornerbacks without providing those corners, whoever they are, with a dominant pass rush.

I have to think that the combination of 2014 second-round draft pick DeMarcus Lawrence, Gregory and eventually Hardy will solve this problem.

Just for fun, go watch Lawrence’s sack against Detroit Lions left tackle Riley Reiff, a first-round pick in 2012, to end Dallas’ wild-card playoff victory last January. Then load up some film of Hardy – and then Gregory.

Props to Jones, the owner, for doing what he does best, which is taking chances while having no fear of talented players that fall into his grasp.

Quarterback Tony Romo publicly predicted a Dallas victory in Super Bowl 50 last month. He may now have a defense that can match one of the top offenses in the NFL in order to make that happen.

Gregory does bring some risk, but no more so than any other player Jones has taken chances on in the past. There’s decision-making to work with, on Gregory’s part, but after watching this guy on film, there’s really little question that a talent like this is worth taking a shot on.

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