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Roster Rundown: Albright’s Versatility Will Aid 4-3 Switch
(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features linebacker Alex Albright.)
Name: Alex Albright
Position: Linebacker/Defensive end
Height/Weight: 6-5 / 260
Experience: 2 seasons
College: Boston College
Key stat: Albright ranked second on the team in solo tackles on special teams with 13. Overall, he had 17 combined special teams stops, good for third.
Contract Status: Signed through 2013.
2012 Impact: In a season where depth on the defense was an issue because of the injuries to the linebackers, Albright was able to step in a play some critical snaps in games at both the inside and outside spots. Where Albright gained the trust of the coaches was when Jason Garrett and the staff worked him at inside linebacker during training camp. Albright looked natural with his reads and assignments which gained him more work during pre-season games. It was when the injuries hit, it was an easy adjustment for him to make. What surprised me about Albright was his nose for the ball in the defensive scheme. I had seen him make plays on special teams finding the ball but in defensive snaps he was able to read quickly and react. There were times where he got chances to play snaps in 2011 and he quite honestly wasn’t very good in this area. Have seen his work ethic first hand which would make Sean Lee proud. Smart kid that played himself into a more significant role going forward.
Where He Fits: Will get the first crack at the SAM or strong outside linebacker starting in this Monte Kiffin 4-3 scheme. Has the idea size for the position plus he understands how to hold up at the point of attack against tight ends and tackles. Played as a college defensive end much like DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Knows how to play with his hands to control blockers. Good to shed with the athletic ability to get to the ball and make a sure tackle. This will be a more natural position for him than playing as an inside linebacker in the 3-4, should be a really nice fit overall.
Nick Eatman:The good thing about Albright is the versatility he brings, along with
his special teams ability. The Cowboys will likely count on that versatility here in the early going of the transition to the 4-3 scheme. Albright played defensive end in college at Boston College, but lined up at all four linebacker spots in the 3-4 schemes. He’s kind of a Wild Card in this defense because he probably has the ability to play end or linebacker. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s asked to bulk up or slim down, depending on the position he’s expected to play.