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Bucky Brooks: Griffen Has Game-Changing Ability


(Editor's Note: The team welcomes Bucky Brooks to the staff. Bucky brings a wealth of experience, not only as a former NFL player of five seasons, but also as a scout and on the pro personnel side for two teams. In the last decade, Brooks has worked in the media, including the NFL Network. Bucky will provide his own analysis and opinions of the Cowboys but also the entire NFL. Today, he breaks down one of the new free-agent signings in defensive end Everson Griffen.)

  • Name: Everson Griffen
  • Position: EDGE
  • College: USC
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 273
  • Season: 11th
  • Games Studied: 2019 (Minnesota vs. Giants, Falcons, Packers, and Cowboys)


Griffen is an energetic EDGE defender with dynamic rush skills and a non-stop motor. The 11th-year pro has 355 total tackles, 74.5 sacks, 86 tackles for loss, 176 QB hits, nine forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries heading into 2020. He's notched 10-plus sacks in three of his last six seasons with a career-best 13 sacks in 2017.

As a pass rusher, Griffen is an explosive athlete with cat-like first-step quickness. He pounces off the ball at first movement and his three-step approach puts immediate pressure on offensive tackles, especially when he's attacking from a wide alignment. Griffen combines explosive quickness with violent hands to win with a swipe, club, and rip maneuver on up-field rushes. He complements his speed rush with a hesitation spin move that reminds me of four-time NBA MVP LeBron James driving to the hole. Griffen combines power with finesse as he sets offensive tackles with the upfield move before utilizing a drop step and ice pick maneuver to work to the inside.

The veteran doesn't utilize a wide array of moves to get the job done but he's mastered his signature moves and plays with such fanatical effort that he's nearly impossible to slow down with a basic repertoire. Griffen has the potential to play as a stand-up rusher in some three-man looks or slide inside as an interior pass rusher in an exotic pass rush package.

As a run defender, Griffen is a textbook edge defender with the capacity to play with strength, power and leverage at the point of attack. He doesn't concede ground easily and works his hands to disengage quickly at the line of scrimmage. With Griffen giving maximum effort on plays to and away from his side, the veteran racks up tackles and tackles for loss on hustle plays.


  • Dynamic pass rusher with cat-like first-step quickness
  • Savvy technician with an unstoppable set of signature moves (speed rush/spin move)
  • 100% effort player
  • Stout run defender


  • Aging veteran nearing the end of his prime
  • Low takeaway numbers

How does he fit in with the Cowboys?

Griffen is a high-end EDGE defender with game-changing ability. He gives the Cowboys a traditional defensive end to play opposite Demarcus Lawrence in a 4-3 scheme. As an electric pass rusher with outstanding snap count anticipation and first-step quickness, he is a perfect fit as an RDE in the Cowboys' base or nickel packages. Griffen has enough athleticism and flexibility to function as a stand-up defender in a hybrid 3-4 or as pass-rushing three-technique in a sub-package. The veteran is a stout run defender who plays with fanatical effort and relentless energy on every down. Overall, Griffen is a blue-chip player who is an upgrade over his predecessor (Robert Quinn) and a potential difference-maker for a championship-caliber defense.

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