One of the players, who could make a significant impact on the Dallas Cowboys defensive line this season, could be defensive end Tyrone Crawford.
Crawford, the Cowboys’ third round pick in the 2012 Draft, is built for the 4-3 defense, and despite what anyone says; was drafted with that in mind. In 2012, Crawford saw action in all 16 games, playing 303 snaps. According to Pro Football Focus writer Steve Palazzolo, Crawford rushed the passer on 163 of his 303 snaps, racking up eight quarterback pressures, but no quarterback sacks. However, it was stopping the run where Crawford performed best. He received a 9.0 grade from PFF, tying him for eighth among the top 3-4 defensive ends as a rookie.
The Cowboys announced that Crawford would play defensive end in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa Cover 2, which should put incumbent starter Anthony Spencer on notice, especially since Spencer’s camp thinks he should be an $8 million-per-year player. It’s worth noting that Crawford, while in the 4-3 scheme, racked up 11 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss his senior season at Boise State, which means that despite not having sacks out of the 3-4 front; he should be able to contribute in that department out of the 4-3.
What I want to see from Crawford during training camp is that he can rush the passer at the NFL level, and of course that he can be more effective than Spencer. If Crawford can answer those questions, I cannot see the Cowboys signing Spencer to a long-term deal.