The Dallas Cowboys signed free agent defensive lineman Jerome Long on Monday, adding another unproven youngster to the list of players vying for a roster spot this season. A 2012 seventh-round pick out of San Diego State who was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars, Long isn’t going to become a pass-rushing fiend in Dallas, but he could be a solid addition for depth on the Cowboys’ defensive line in 2013, the team’s first season under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Long probably won’t play a ton and he doesn’t have a fiery players’ coach like Rob Ryan to coax out every bit of his potential, but if he makes it to the preseason, he’ll have a chance to show he’s a good reserve player. Then he’ll be able to hone his pass-rushing skills by learning from the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff.
Long played both defensive end and defensive tackle in the Aztecs’ 3-3-5 defense, so he’s versatile, which is why the Cowboys are so high on Sean Lissemore, who got a new five-year, $7.1 million deal last season. Long obviously isn’t as close to a star role as Lissemore, but he has superb potential and if he’s able to learn under from an old football mind like Kiffin and get good mentoring from the Cowboys’ veteran pass rushers, he might just find a home in Dallas while providing depth to a defensive line that has lacked that in recent years.