When the Cowboys report to training camp on July 22 in Oxnard, Calif., several questions will still need to be answered.
The staff writers at DallasCowboys.com – Rowan Kavner, David Helman, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus – will attempt to answer these questions before the start of training camp. The questions will vary in importance, with the most pressing topics getting brought up in the days closest to camp.
Today, the staff tries to predict which defensive linemen will make a dramatic jump, similar to George Selvie's season a year ago.
12) Which D-Lineman Will Break Out Like Selvie In 2013?
Rowan Kavner – Selvie jumped out and had 5.5 more sacks than he had in any previous season. Seven sacks doesn't put him in any elite category, but they made a significant difference on a struggling defense, and it's possible one of the many newcomers on the defensive line can make a similar impact. I'm going to go with Jeremy Mincey.Unlike Selvie, Mincey's had that type of impact before, compiling eight sacks in 2011 – by far his top total since entering the league in 2006. But he's totaled only five sacks since that stellar 2011 season. He's demonstrated he has the capabilities to pressure the quarterback, and if there's any candidate among the newcomers to have that type of impact with some help from Rod Marinelli, why not the guy who's done it once before.
David Helman: Aside from Melton, though, I'm intrigued by Terrell McClain. I remember when the Cowboys signed him in March, the news was met with a collective eye roll by Cowboys fans on Twitter and other news outlets. But McClain has looked both versatile and competent in his short time with the team. Originally thought of as a nobody, I wouldn't be surprised if he turns into a starter and a strong contributor on the defensive line – which would make him stand out plenty. [embedded_ad]
Nick Eatman: I guess if it's good enough for Romo, it'll be good enough for me. But I will agree with the quarterback's prediction that Tyrone Crawford will have a breakout season. He was talking about the defense in general and so since is just a D-line question, why not Crawford. Personally, I think he's versatile enough to play different positions and that is tough for teams to prepare for. When you think about Rod Marinelli getting career seasons out of Hayden, Selvie and Jason Hatcher last year, not to mention getting those guys off the street to come in and contribute, I think you'll see Crawford take his game to the next level by leaps and bounds.
Bryan Broaddus: I really do like these young defensive linemen like Gardner, Coleman and Bishop but the guy that will get opportunity this summer to make plays is Martez Wilson. When you observe Wilson and the way that he rushes the passer, there is a knack for getting to the quarterback. These defensive coaches are putting him in position scheme wise on both the left and right side to show that. He plays with a burst and feel for how to defeat blockers despite having little experience of playing with his hand in the dirt. With the plan to attack these offensive schemes in waves, this plays right into his hands where he can get play 15 to 20 snaps a game and these coaches can get the most out of him as a rotational player. Any more than that, I believe it takes his effectiveness away.