Dallas Cowboys: A review of the 2015 rookie class

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Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) in action against Minnesota Vikings guard David Yankey (66) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Round 2: Randy Gregory, DE

If the 2014 season showed the Cowboys anything, it was that the defense were crying out for a young, destructive pass rusher. Since the departure of DeMarcus Ware the team had been relying upon aging journey men to fill the gap. The likes of George Selvie and Henry Melton did a job, but didn’t necessarily light up the world.

Prior to the draft the Nebraska hybrid defensive end was not just considered a first round pick but a top ten one. Sports Illustrated ranked him as the best edge rusher available in the draft.

"“In many ways Gregory is a superior athlete to 2014 first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who was widely considered a once-in-a-generation athletic freak. When it comes to being an edge rusher, Gregory has more tools at his disposal. Not only does the film show that, but physical testing does as well”. – Greg A. Bedard, SI.com"

Gregory’s failed drug tests were widely reported and consequently his draft stock was affected. Thirty one teams including the Cowboys passed on Gregory at some point. Twenty-four teams passed on him on two occasions. But with the 28th pick of the second round, the temptation to add an elite pass rush was too much for the Cowboys.

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Thus far there have been no reasons to regret the choice made by the scouting team, Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett. Unfortunately an ankle injury has limited Gregory to just the one game this year with him expected to return after the bye week. The snapshot from that opening game to the Giants was an exciting one however.

Before exiting the game in the third quarter, Gregory had been consistently pressuring Eli Manning. While he was rewarded statistically with sacks and tackles, his explosiveness was on display and signaled just what type of weapon the Cowboys could have their disposal for years to come.

Following on from Greg Hardy‘s incredible game against the Patriots last week alongside the welcome return of Rolando McClain the Cowboys defense could well be on its way to becoming a dominant force. Partner Gregory and Hardy as the pass rushers on the line with McClain and Sean Lee as linebackers quarterbacks will be spending a long time face down.

Next: Chaz Green & Damien Wilson