Former second-rounder attempting NFL comeback is perfect Cowboys reclamation project

This has Jerry Jones written all over it.
Chicago Bears v Indianapolis Colts
Chicago Bears v Indianapolis Colts / Bobby Ellis/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys have arguably the best edge rusher tandem in the NFL with Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence. In fact, Pro Football Focus gave Parsons and Lawrence that title in a recent ranking of the best duos at every position.

Parsons posted another top-three finish in Defensive Player of the Year voting while Lawrence performed at an All-Pro level last season, finishing second amongst EDGEs in run-defense grade (92.4) and first in run-stop percentage (12.4%), per PFF.

With that said, the Cowboys' pass rush could take a step back this season following the departures of Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler.

A lot will be expected of 2022 second-round pick Sam Williams to fill that void, and rookie second-rounder Marshawn Kneeland will have a big role in year one. It's worth noting, though, that Kneeland is more developed as a run defender than a pass rusher. There's a lot to be excited about with Kneeland, but he may not have an immediate profound impact getting after the quarterback.

It couldn't hurt to add another pass rusher before training camp. Fortunately for Dallas, a former touted draft pick is ready to return to the NFL following a brutal run of injuries.

Cowboys should sign DE Kemoko Turay amid NFL comeback effort

A former second-round pick of the Colts in 2018, Turay burst onto the scene as a rookie with four sacks, 13 quarterback hits and 38 pressures in 14 games. That momentum continued into 2019 before a fractured ankle claimed his season after four games. The injury has derailed his career.

Turay underwent multiple surgeries to fix the ankle. To make matters worse, COVID-19 complicated his rehab timeline He didn't return until Week 10 the following season and was used sparingly, probably as a precaution. He played more than 16 snaps in just one of his six cameos.

Turay rebounded in 2021 to the tune of 5.5 sacks and 22 pressures in 13 games. He signed with the 49ers that offseason but struggled to carve out a role on a loaded defensive line. He later caught on with the Falcons and spent all of 2023 on Atlanta's practice squad.

It's been a turbulent couple of years for Turay, but he's fully healthy after not playing at all last campaign, per insider Aaron Wilson of KPRC-2 in Houston. Multiple teams are expected to show interest in Turay, who displayed explosion and power in a workout clip Wilson shared to social media.

Turay would be a complete dart throw and isn't at all reliable against the run. However, he's been disruptive when healthy and excels at rushing the passer with a career 12.4% pressure rate.

Jerry Jones and the Cowboys love a good reclamation project. Former fan favorite linebacker Rolando McClain, defensive end Randy Gregory and wide receiver Martavis Bryant are some of Jones' most notable attempts to restore the value and talented players who've had missteps off the field.

Still just 28 years old and with his devastating ankle injury firmly in the rearview, Turay could fill the Dante Fowler role as a pass-rush specialist for Mike Zimmer. He's worth a training camp invite at the very least.

The latest Cowboys news