Make no mistake, the Gregory gamble blew up big time in Jones’ face and the franchise is still dealing with the fallout.
With Paea’s pending retirement and also the departure of Cedric Thornton before the regular season began, the defensive tackle position could use a serious upgrade as well.
I’m a believer that David Irving, until proven otherwise, is the most volatile playmaker on the defensive line. Yes, Lawrence is challenging my assessment in a big way right now, but as I pointed out last week, Lawrence might not even be with the team by early March of next year, so it’s hard to say for how long the Cowboys will enjoy having both of these players wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
I’m looking at players like defensive tackles Da’Ron Payne of Alabama or Christian Wilkins of Clemson as a potentially early and immediate upgrade over just about anybody not named Maliek Collins or Irving to the interior of a defensive line that’s giving away rushing yards at an alarming pace so far this season.
If we’re talking defensive ends, there’s edge rushers like Arden Key that will immediately remind some of Charles Haley or DeMarcus Ware, both highly accomplished pass rushers in the history of the Cowboys. Key has speed off the edge like few players I’ve ever seen and he likely won’t even be available when Dallas ends up on the clock, but there will be other candidates to help turn this defensive front into something truly frightening.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that this season is over for the Dallas Cowboys after just five games. Regardless of what this team accomplishes this season – or not – there’s still going to be the need to bolster both the talent and the numbers on the defensive line.
In my eyes, clear is the fact that upgrades need to be made to a defensive line that just doesn’t resemble those that helped the Dallas Cowboys win Super Bowls in the 1970s and 1990s.