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Even With Position Unclear, Excitement Rising For Crawford


IRVING, Texas – While coaches, scouts and front-office  personnel are usually pretty anxious in the days leading up to the draft, the current players on the team often get overlooked this time of year.

But there are many of them ready to see just who the Cowboys are going to take, mainly for competition reasons.

For Tyrone Crawford, he's just hoping to figure out his position.

"I'm a defensive lineman," Crawford said this week in the hallways at Valley Ranch. "That's all I really know."

And for now, that's good enough for Crawford, who is just happy to be close to 100 percent again after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury on the first day of training camp practice in Oxnard last July.

So whether Crawford plays defensive tackle or defensive end, he's just excited to get started. Of course, the matter goes a tad deeper than just putting "DE" or "DT" by his name on the roster. The category of Weight will also be affected by this decision, one that will likely be made after the draft, depending on what the Cowboys add in terms of linemen.

"We'll wait to see what happens Thursday, Friday, Saturday, see where the numbers line up," head coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday at the Cowboys' annual Pre-Draft press conference. "But (Crawford) has position flex. We could see him playing right end, we could see him playing left end, he's played inside, he's been a nickel rusher, so he really does have position flex. The big thing with him when you're talking about deciding, his body can change a little bit. He might be 10 pounds lighter or 10 pounds heavier based on the starting point for his position. I do think it's important to go through this draft process and see where the numbers are."

Crawford can get lost in the discussion among defensive linemen considering he didn't play a snap last year, plus the Cowboys signed what could be a starting four of defensive linemen in the offseason. Anthony Spencer and Jeremy Mincey were added as ends, while Henry Melton and Terrell McClain joined the team at the tackle spot.

George Selvie, Nick Hayden and Ben Bass all return up front, as does Crawford, a third-round pick in 2012 from Boise State. [embedded_ad]

Back in late March, owner Jerry Jones said the defensive line position would be better this year than the 2013 bunch that included DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. It was the combination of adding Melton, Mincey and McClain and the excitement he had for Crawford. That enthusiasm could've been aided by his final meeting with Hatcher before he left for the Redskins.

 "One of the last things Hatcher told me before he left town, he said, 'That guy is going to be a perennial All-Pro,'" Jones said, recalling Hatcher's words about Crawford. "He said, 'He's the real deal.'"

But even Hatcher, Jones, Garrett or even Crawford seem to know exactly what position that will be coming from.

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