IRVING, Texas –The Cowboys know they need more pass rush. Want proof?* *Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is back on the $8.8 million franchise tender, and Jerry Jones won't rule out a pass rusher in the first round of the draft later this month.
All that, despite Jones' assertion that backup Victor Butler (3.0 sacks) graded out as the most efficient player on defense last season.
"What's ironic here relative to the pressure is we're high on Butler," Jones said at the NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. "We think Butler is somebody who can really give us the pass rush.
"There's some concern with setting the edge with him, but as far as the pass rush we know we can get plays out of Butler. He had the highest ratio of successful plays for the time he played on our defense when he was in there."
If Butler is indeed making an impression on the defensive coaching staff, Rob Ryan will find ways to get him more plays. The immediate question is whether the team will find a talented rusher in the draft, either at linebacker or defensive line -- or both.
Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, Illinois' Whitney Mercilus, LSU's Michael Brockers, Memphis' Dontari Poe and Alabama's Donta Hightower are among several first-round prospects.