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Next Man Up: Time to shine for Chauncey Golston


Like many teams around the league, the Cowboys sent a strong message in free agency. However, it wasn't in the form of adding a lot of players or keeping the majority of their own. What seems clear for the Cowboys is their willingness to give opportunities to younger players on the team.

This roster is loaded with players still on their rookie contracts that haven't had that breakout season just yet. Could it be this year? The Cowboys can only hope, especially considering they signed just one player (Eric Kendricks) in free agency and currently have just six picks in the NFL Draft later this month.

So the Cowboys have to lean on some of their previous drafts and free-agent signings to help fill out this roster.

Today, we'll continue the series with defensive end Chauncey Golston.

  • Name: Chauncey Golston
  • Position: Defensive Line
  • Experience: 4th Year
  • Games Played/Starts: 47 / 3
  • Years Left on Contract: 1
  • How Acquired: 3rd round pick, 2021 (Iowa)
  • Key Stat: Has played in 47 of a possible 51 games in his first three seasons.

The Past: While third-round picks don't usually fly under the radar, it can happen especially if there were three in the same class. Golston was one of three third-rounders in 2021, along with Osa Odighizuwa and Nahshon Wright. While Odighizuwa has stood out the most among that group, Golston has been a contributor in his own way during his first three seasons. Sometimes position flex can be a good thing, helping a player get more playing time because of his ability to play multiple spots. Sometimes it can be a challenge for the player's development because he's always moving to different spots on the field and not exactly perfecting one position. For Golston, he has been in that "tweener" role, playing defensive end but also sliding inside to tackle.

The Present: Without an official practice in the books, the Cowboys have yet to display exactly how they're going to line up in Mike Zimmer's new defensive scheme. So pinpointing where Golston is going to play isn't easy to do in April. He's listed as a defensive end on the roster, and has the second-most games played among any player at that position, only behind DeMarcus Lawrence. Then again, Micah Parsons is still a linebacker and we all know he's likely going to rush off the edge. But Golston could get the chance to become an every-down end. If that's the case, he's going to have to improve as a pass-rusher as he has 3.5 sacks in three years. But don't be surprised if he remains in a hybrid role that sees him line up all over the D-line to find mismatches.

The Future: This is the final year of Golston's four-year contract. Sometimes we've seen players thrive in the "contract year" but also gives teams more incentive to play younger players with an eye on the future. So it'll be important for Golston to have a strong training camp and preseason and establish himself as a difference-maker on the defensive line. Up until now, Golston hasn't been able to separate himself in terms of playing time but with the losses the Cowboys have seen in free agency – with two ends and two tackles both signing with other teams – the moment is now for Golston, who can set himself up for a big contract next offseason.

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