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Mailbag: Can Alarcón Find A Place on Defense?


So what's the story with Isaac Alarcón? After three years as a developmental player on offense, which seems like a lot of conditioning and a ton of practice reps against NFL players, why is he now being moved to the defensive line? With his size, couldn't he have been an answer for some of the offensive line questions? Having started at offensive tackle, then moved to guard and now to defense, can he realistically make the roster and contribute on game day in 2023? I know this is do or die for him now with the Cowboys, so he must be motivated. – Joey Arnel Sayson/Texas

Nick: Seems like you've answered some of your questions yourself. What's the story? I think you've got it. Why is he being moved to defense? Well, the same reason any person is ever moved in sports or even a job – it's to put them in a better place to succeed. Obviously, it was time to see if there's another spot for Isaac. But here's the part that I think is getting overlooked. Last year, he was the 17th player in the practice squad because the Cowboys got a roster exemption for him that has now expired. So if you think about it – let's say he makes the practice squad again as the 16th guy. Well, he plays the scout team on defensive line, but can also revert over and play some guard and tackle, too. Technically, he's one guy on the practice squad with the ability to play 3-4 positions on both sides of the ball. It's like having an extra guy – IF – he can make the switch to defense and be serviceable in practice. As for making the 53-man roster, that's going to be a challenge for any defensive tackle – even if they're a sixth-round pick who has played this position his entire life.

Patrik: Time will tell, but he's definitely got the size and athleticism to give it a go. What also works in his favor is the fact that, having spent the majority of his football career on the other side of the ball, Alarcon knows every single technique an offensive lineman would deploy to try and halt a pass rusher/run stopper. That's intel a rare few defensive linemen can actually claim to have, at least to that depth, and Alarcon has a great shot at making that work in his favor. The rest will be trying to refine defensive technique, and I can tell you I've already seen him putting in the work with impact defensive linemen this March to get a headstart on his transition — fully committed to trying to make a name for himself on that side of the ball.

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