Dallas Cowboys: Will Tyrone Crawford find a home on the d-line this year?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Tyrone Crawford
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Tyrone Crawford /

Tyrone Crawford has been a highly versatile defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, but could this finally be the year he gets a defined spot?

One of the forgotten men on the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive front is DT/DE Tyrone Crawford, who has done everything the Cowboys have asked of him after being taken with the 81st overall pick of the 2012 Draft. He was originally drafted to play defensive end, and played there his first year in former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defense.

He then was asked to play the 4-3 defensive end in Monte Kiffen’s Tampa-2 defense, which was more of an edge rusher role. Crawford was eventually moved inside to the 3-technique, where he played so well, it earned him a 5 year, $45 million dollar contract the following offseason.

Fast forward to week one of last season, and Crawford was still entrenched as the 3-technique starter, albeit along with some newfound struggles. Due to the success of newcomer Maliek Collins and the oft-injured Terrell McClain, and Crawford was once again due for a position change.

With the Cowboys being banged up at the defensive end position, Crawford was moved back to the edge, and started 12 games at the left end spot for Dallas. He finished third on the team with 4.5 sacks, rotating between the three technique, left defensive end, and even nose tackle. Crawford has even claimed he’s played about “half” of his DT snaps at the one-technique spot. 

While his versatility has been somewhat of a godsend, it is beginning to appear as if Crawford’s niche has become more of a “jack of all trades, master of none” type deal for the Cowboys. He’s been solid every where he’s been asked to play, he just hasn’t necessarily been spectacular–especially of late. Which is why the Cowboys should find a spot for Crawford, and keep him there.

With a plethora of new defensive lineman, it shouldn’t be hard to find a spot for Crawford to focus all of his energy on. After all, it’s tough to master a craft if you don’t necessarily have a specific craft to master.

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So far this offseason, Crawford has been with the first team at defensive end. He’s also taken snaps at defensive tackle, but defensive end has been his main position of focus. And if I were the Cowboys, I’d make sure to keep it that way. Or the other way around. Just not both.