IRVING, Texas – Earlier in the week, I wrote a piece about the trusts and concerns that I had as the Cowboys prepared for training camp.
One of my concerns was at the position of the one-technique defensive tackle in this scheme. The staff has made a commitment to playing Jason Hatcher there but there will be times where Jay Ratliff will also slide over and take some reps there as well. The concern I have is who will play behind these two starters?
As we have worked our way through names like Brian Price and Robert Callaway, plus the loss of Josh Brent, it's a position that has the front office searching for some stability. Sean Lissemore as many of you know was a player that I had high expectations for before the season opened last year, but an injury early in the campaign robbed him of any real opportunity.
Even when Lissemore returned, he wasn't the same player, and to me that was a wasted year. Lissemore is healthy once again and playing a position in this 4-3 scheme that is better suited to his talents as the one, instead of a 3-4 nose.
A player that I am going to keep a close eye on this preseason, because I believe he has the confidence of Rod Marinelli is, Nick Hayden. When you talk to the scouts about Hayden, the first thing they mention is how much he loves football, and in the opportunities that I have had a chance to watch him play in these camps, you can see that. He does play with a high motor and effort which explains why Marinelli has taken a liking to him.
What the scouts also mention is that he has some nice length and size, but the trait they really like about him is that he plays with some impressive one-gap quickness, which is important in this scheme. The scouts also liked that he can also play some two-gap, which requires some strength to take on blockers and control the line.
Hayden was out of football in 2012, which saved some wear and tear on his body, but before that, he had played in 28 games for the Panthers and Bengals, making 13 starts. The scouts liked that he had that [embedded_ad] veteran experience but was still young at 27 years old. I view the move as a low cost one made by the front office that could pay off big this season if he is able to come in and give them a rotational player that can take some snaps at the one and three.
This pro department has had a knack for adding some veteran players that have been more than productive when they brought guys in. I still view this as a position of concern depth wise but I will be interested to see if the scouts might have hit on a guy here.