*(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 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features linebacker Ernie Sims.) *
Name: Ernie Sims
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 230
Experience: 7 seasons
College: Florida State
Key stat:Sims started six of 10 games played and had two straight games of seven tackles each against Washington and Philadelphia in late November and early December.
Contract Status:Signed through 2013 after agreeing to one-year deal for this season.
2012 Impact: I have sat in that same chair here at Valley Ranch that these pro scouts are currently in today. It can be a very rewarding job or it can be one where you felt like that you let the general manager and the coaches down. I have never been a part of a team or seen a club have so many injuries during the season to key players that every day you felt like all you were
doing was replacing them. Let's be real honest here, Ernie Sims was not a player that was on their emergency board when the season opened. He really wasn't a great scheme fit in Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense but to his credit he came in and made it a fit. Sims always had a nose for the ball and when you studied him in college all you ever observed him doing was making plays for Florida State. There were always questions in Detroit of really how much of a mature player he was there but in Dallas, he came in with the right attitude to prove he belonged on this roster, fit or not. I remember talking to a defense coach at the time when he signed and he commented on how quickly Sims was able to pick up the game plan to have a shot of playing of playing that week and sure enough he goes out against the Giants and gets three tackles and a pressure when Dan Connor went out of the game with a neck strain. Sims would go on and start several games that season and be very productive until he suffered a concussion against the Steelers on a kick off. When you add players like Sims to the roster mid-season, you are really hoping that they work out but more importantly that they don't cost you a game. In the case of Ernie Sims, his 2012 season was a rewarding one for the pro scouts that brought him on board for their club.
Where He Fits: With the switch to this new 4-3 scheme, this becomes an outstanding fit now for Sims and what he can do going forward. He is a linebacker that likes to run and hit so he should do just fine as a backup in a couple of different spots. I see him as a Mike and Will linebacker more so than a Sam. His understanding of coverage will help him as a Mike but his ability to play with quickness and tackling will help him on the outside at Will. One of the most important traits in this defense is speed and quickness, which is something that Sims should be just fine at.
Nick Eatman –Last year, after the Cowboys suffered all sorts of injuries at linebacker, they couldn't be selective about the players they signed off the street. And looking for a job and to resurrect his career, Ernie Sims couldn't care less if he fit the scheme. He was looking for an opporuntiy. So it was a good fit for both sides last year but could be even better now after the Cowboys re-signed Sims for another year and will move to a 4-3 scheme. Sims is more familiar with this defensive set now and will likely compete for a [embedded_ad]
starting job at strong-side linebacker, although he seems to be better suited for either the weakside or even in the middle as a backup.