*Editor's Note: Throughout the offseason, 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 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features defensive end Jack Crawford.*
Name: Jack Crawford
Experience: 3 seasons
College: Penn State
Key stat:Crawford certainly picked the right setting to have the best game of his season. Playing in front of his hometown – all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, in London – he recorded a sack and a forced fumble in the 31-17 win against Jacksonville.
Contract Status:Signed through 2015
2014 Impact: Was added to the roster right before the season after spending the preseason with the Oakland Raiders. Was one of those players that Will McClay and his staff continue to bring on board who the coaches plug right in and play. Film from the Raiders and the live action of working against them during training camp was good as well. I felt like that he was one of those guys that could have played all the positions along the defensive line and been fine -- which is one of the reasons why I thought they brought him in. His effort and motor was outstanding. There were several snaps where you observed his desire to hustle down field to make plays. Doesn't quit. Coaches love his toughness and character. Is a strong player at the point of attack. Is physical. If he has a weakness it's that when you watch him play, you don't see a great athlete, which is why he has to play with such effort and desire to make up for those shortcomings. He's not going to play with a great burst or reactions. There is stiffness in the way he comes off the ball and how tall he can get. It is hard for him to really bend when it comes to rushing the passer but his effort allows him to get to the quarterback. I will say that he did improve overall from his days in Oakland to where he is now. That's due to the coaches on this staff working with him on his technique.
Where He Fits: I feel like you could play him at any spot along this defensive line as a backup and you would feel good about it. Can see him as one of those players that we aren't talking about much now but there is a plan for him with the staff. They love to rotate these defensive linemen and the fact that he plays with power and effort that they will find a spot for him. Could be a nice fit as the backup at left end if they decide to move DeMarcus Lawrence to that side now that they have Greg Hardy. Has the strength to play a little tackle if needed as well. These are the kind of traits that coaches love. Could see him once again on the 53-man roster playing several different roles.
David Helman:This sounds familiar to a lot of role players on the Cowboys' roster, but we just barely got an opportunity to see what he was capable of before he was injured. He appeared in six total games and tallied tackles in four of those, with two strong performances – his three-tackle, one-sack night against the Saints and his sack and forced fumble against the Jaguars in London. Shortly after, he was sent to injured reserve with a broken thumb. At this point, it's hard to guarantee Crawford will make the roster – there are only eight or nine spots for the defensive line, and five or six of those are already accounted for. The Cowboys are going to give him the opportunity, though, which is something he undoubtedly earned during his brief stint last year.