FRISCO – This time last season, Chauncey Golston was just entering his first moments in the NFL and preparing to make a leap into training camp. A leap that was hindered by a hamstring injury that limited his availability throughout the offseason as well as his production early in the regular season at the edge rusher spot.
Despite his lack of playing time early, his trajectory still pointed up as he made a significant impact both on special teams and in the defensive line rotation. This time around, during the first OTA practices, Golston is trending in a completely different direction - Inside.
Golston says he enters practice nearly 20-pounds heavier than his playing weight last season and took early snaps with both the edge rushers and interior defensive lineman. Even with the added weight, he appeared quick off the snap and was moving better than he ever did last season.
But why would he be working with a crowded room of defensive tackles with Neville Gallimore, Osa Odighizuwa, and Trysten Hill all in the fold?
Simply enough, it's a size mismatch.
"It's something that Coach Quinn has talked about since last year," Golston said. "With my long arms, it'll be tougher for inside lineman to get their hands off of me."
Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn have been known to value the versatility of a defensive front in the past. Especially last season when nearly everyone who played on the defensive line shifted inside at some point.
Gholston, who played 126 of his 413 defensive snaps as a defensive tackle last season, fits the mold of a position versatile pass rusher. His length would be a much bigger mismatch for the shorter arms of interior lineman than it would be for the longer offensive tackle opponents. Something the defensive staff could utilize most of the time in his second season.
One concern with a full-time move, is how he'll combat the frequent double-teams. The answer seemingly has been bulking up and building a bigger frame. He has certainly done that in his first full offseason as a pro.
"I'm willing to play wherever they need me," Golston said. "I'd even suit up and play left tackle if that's what they wanted me to do. I'm not sure how well that would go, but I'd do it."
The pads have not been put on to this point, so it's easy to get carried away with the early looks from some of the more athletic defensive prospects. But early on, it appears there may be more to Golston's role than meets the eye.