FRISCO, Texas – The overall outlook for Neville Gallimore is a good one, all things considered. It still creates a bit of a problem for a Cowboys defensive line that is short on proven pass rushers.
Gallimore has looked every bit like a guy who's ready to make "The Leap" during the course of this training camp. Unfortunately, after hyperextending his elbow in Friday's preseason loss to Arizona, he's out for a while – likely until October or so.
While they wait for his return, it doesn't sound like the Cowboys are overly worried about their depth. Even with Trysten Hill still working his way back from the PUP list, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy listed off several options that can replace Gallimore as the primary three-technique.
"The beauty of the veteran defensive line group, the veteran free agents that we signed, and the beauty of the rookie group is that they all have multiple technique and ability," McCarthy said. "So, I'm very confident we'll be very fine with those guys."
The versatility of this group is definitely noticeable. Carlos Watkins has experience playing both one-technique and three-technique, while McCarthy mentioned the ability of Brent Urban and even defensive end Tarell Basham to kick down inside.
Of all the possible replacements, though, no name offers as much intrigue as Osa Odighizuwa. After all, it was Odighizuwa who was drafted No. 75 overall – six spots ahead of Gallimore's draft slot -- just four months ago. It's Odighizuwa that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn targeted as an intriguing pass rusher, and it stands to reason he'll get the first crack at Gallimore's starting spot.
I think it's going to help, because I'm getting more reps with the starters and the ones," Odighizuwa said on Monday. "So I think that's going to help me progress – just got to hold it down and nut up until he gets back."
The early returns have been awfully encouraging. Odighizuwa played 51 snaps in the game against Arizona, tying him with Ron'Dell Carter for most on the team. He seemed to do a lot with them, as he was consistently bullying his way into the backfield, finishing with three tackles and an impressive tackle for loss.
"It's a little bit more production, being able to recognize formations and take information in a little bit better, and the game is starting to slow down a little bit," Odighizuwa said.
This should be an interesting audition. The Cowboys will likely give plenty of guys a look at the position. They've been rotating their personnel to an absurd degree during this camp, anyway. And for that matter, it's a good bet that vice president of player personnel Will McClay and his staff will have their eyes out for possible upgrades on other rosters around the league.
Still, the best-case scenario is right in front of them. The Cowboys drafted Odighizuwa for this purpose. And while the opportunity might be coming sooner than expected, it'd be fun to see him run with it.
"I just see it as an opportunity to get better," Odighizuwa said. "Going against the ones, the people that have experience is going to help get me better, quicker."