(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features defensive lineman David Irving.)
Name: David Irving
Position: Defensive Lineman
Height/Weight: 6-7 / 272
Experience: 1 season
College: Iowa State
Key Stat: As a reserve in the defensive line rotation for 12 games, Irving ranked sixth on defense with 14 quarterback pressures, just behind Randy Gregory (16) and Jeremy Mincey (15).
Contract Status: Signed through 2016.
2015 Impact: Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chiefs and placed on their practice squad after the final roster reduction. Lines up as a defensive end and also some at tackle. Impressive size and length for the position. Surprising how well he moves for his size. Can cover some ground once he gets going. Very good reactionary athlete and quick. Like the way he attacks the gap. When he sees the ball he is able to adjust and work himself into that direction. For a tall guy has the ability to sink his hips and redirect. Shows some lower body bend and flexibility. Thought he needed some work on his hands and how to use them but I felt like he improved on them as season went along. There are snaps where his base gets a little narrow when fighting his man – has to be careful when this happens to him. Would not call him a powerful player but overall strength wasn't bad. I believe that his height will limit how strong he can really play. Has to fight to really anchor down against the run. Will play with range and work down the line. Length helps him as a pass rusher. Can get up the field. When he attacks the gap, he can get some pressure. Can get off the ball.
Where He Fits: Front office and coaches are high on his ability. Has that rare length that I feel like that you could develop as a defensive end. I would like to see him work on the right side as an edge rusher. Not sure if body type will allow him to add much weight but feel like he can add more strength. No question that he could help in the rotation.
Rob Phillips: Looks like another "win" signing for Will McClay and the front office. The Cowboys signed Irving off the Chiefs' practice squad at the end of September, and the undrafted rookie gave Rod Marinelli some valuable reserve snaps at defensive tackle and defensive end. Irving averaged 17 defensive snaps in 12 games, totaling 14 tackles (2 for loss) and a half-sack. He also blocked a field goal in Week 8 against Seattle, the Cowboys' second blocked field goal since 2013 and clearly a skill of Irving's – at 6-foot-7, he blocked three kicks in college, too. Irving looks like a solid developmental player on defense, and the Cowboys need active linemen with four defensive linemen set for unrestricted free agency and Randy Gregory set to serve a four-game NFL suspension at the start of the 2016 season.