With the Dallas Cowboys drafting Taco Charlton from the University of Michigan, who becomes expendable on the defensive line?
The Dallas Cowboys headed into the draft needing plenty of defensive help. They seem to believe they found the answer with first round draft selection, defensive end Taco Charlton out of Michigan, or the “War Daddy” they’ve been needing. How does this pick effect the rest of the defensive line?
The Cowboys still have defensive line players under contract including: defensive ends Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Charles Tapper, Benson Mayowa, and David Irving. At defensive tackle there’s Maliek Collins and Cedric Thornton. They’ve also added depth via free agency with defensive end Damontre Moore and defensive tackle Stephen Paea.
As of the end of Day 2 in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys now have 10 defensive linemen total on their roster. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli definitely will not be short of choices when it comes to finalizing his defensive line.
Before naming those in danger, let’s list those who I believe are safe. Barring anything catastrophic, Charlton surely will be on the roster Week One when the Cowboys open the season against the New York Giants. Taco is the Cowboys first round draft pick and will be given every chance to succeed.
Irving and Collins are coming off very surprising and equally impressive seasons. Both will be given plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent and with both being so young Dallas values each of them extremely.
Those that are on the fence include: Mayowa and Thornton and both will be entering their second seasons with the Cowboys. Considering both had mediocre seasons last year, Cedric may be the one leaning towards “the out” given his price tag. Mayowa signed a team friendly deal for three years at $8.25 million. While Thornton signed a four-year $18 million deal.
Moore and Paea will both be given a chance in training camp but I believe they are almost equal to Mayowa and Thornton. Tapper was unable to take the field last season so the Cowboys may want to see what they have in him before cutting him loose. The 2016 fourth round pick will need to show potential early though given the competition on the defensive line.
Unless Crawford and Lawrence can improve, they may be seeing their final days as a Cowboy. Tyrone signed a five-year for $45 million and DeMarcus was drafted 34th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Both are coming off underwhelming seasons and have failed to live up to the price tag the Cowboys have placed on them.
Crawford with his large cap hit and Lawrence entering his final season of his rookie contract seem to be on the bubble if the Cowboys need to trim some fat pertaining to the defensive line. Both will be given the same chance as the others mentioned but may be on somewhat of a shorter leash.
Look for the Dallas Cowboys to depart with a couple defensive linemen after all is said and done but keep your eyes on veterans DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford.