Much has been made about the players the Dallas Cowboys lost in the offseason. Henry Melton was brought in to fill the void left on the defensive line. Question marks have surrounded his name to this point, but it appears Melton is on track to begin training camp tomorrow. He might be the one player who can turn the defense around.
Melton tore his ACL three games into last season. He appears to be ready to make good on the promise he made when he was signed. He eyed training camp for his return, and assuming he doesn’t suffer a setback, he’ll be ready to join his teammates on the first day of training camp tomorrow. He’s only ten months removed from his serious knee injury.
The biggest concern in my mind won’t be just a physical hurdle; it’s the mental block he will have initially. It’s extremely important for him to participate in training camp because he needs to build the trust back up between his mind and body. The only way he’s going to get over his injury is with contact. He needs to be pushed around so that the knee is tested. I’d much rather him get past this issue during camp than have it carry on into the season.
Many people are enamored with edge rushers because they can easily track productivity with sacks. I feel a quality player hovering over the ball at defensive tackle is vital for a successful defense. Just think about it; pressure off the edge is often easy to spot and avoid for quarterbacks. Pressure up the middle makes the QB so uncomfortable. They get pushed off their target spot to launch the ball, and they get hands in their face and more clutter around their lower bodies.
I see Melton as a guy who can have anywhere from five to eight sacks this season. His real production will come from jamming up running lanes. He will put pressure on the opposing offensive line to contain him, and he can make his teammates’ jobs much easier by disrupting timing and blowing up plays.
Melton isn’t just playing for this season but the rest of his career. He wants the bonuses and extension the Cowboys built into his contract. All eyes will be on Melton, because there’s nothing more dangerous than a hungry, motivated player.