Roster Rundown: Tyrone Crawford A Cornerstone Player On The Defensive Line

(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 tackle Tyrone Crawford.)

Name:Tyrone Crawford
Position:Defensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 290
Experience:4 seasons
College: Boise State

Key stat:Crawford started all 16 games for the first time in his career and posted a career-high five sacks.

Contract Status: Signed through 2020.

2015 Impact: There were improvements from his first season as the under tackle in this scheme. If you remember he went from working exclusively at defensive end to playing tackle without any real training. This season he looked more natural and comfortable for the position. He was better when it came to his instincts and timing. He didn't play with the same hesitations that we saw while playing the position for the first time in his career. His feel for getting off blocks improved both run and pass. He wasn't stuck on as many of blocks and it showed in his ability to finish during games. Where he had problems in 2014 sacking the quarterback – he had a career high five sacks for the season. Crawford is learning how to take his power and combine that with the mental side of the game to become a more complete player. Is learning the nuances of the position. There were times where he would just rush hard up the field and not make anything happen – that changed for him in 2015. There was more consistency and purpose to his game. Has always taken coaching well and works hard to improve. Is always willing to try any technique to give him an advantage on the field.

Where He Fits:Terrific worker and character. Played the majority of the season with a damaged shoulder but never used that as an excuse if he didn't play well. Coaches love his fit as that under tackle in the scheme. Very good inside rusher and power. Is relentless in all areas of his game all while learning the position. Will continue to develop to his feel for the position which at times did not come natural to him. Has become a more confident player and it has shown in his overall play. Will work hard in the off season and become a difference maker for this defense.   

Writers' Analysis:

Rob Phillips: In his third active season (he missed all of 2013 with an Achilles injury) Crawford he had a career-high 44 tackles and finished third on defense with a career-high five sacks to go along with 27 quarterback pressures. Having signed him to a five-year, $45 million contract just before the season opener, the Cowboys view Crawford as a cornerstone defensive player and he takes that approach to work every day. As Bryan said, he moved to defensive tackle in the middle of the 2014 season and got his first full offseason working there last year. He'll be fully healthy next season coming off his January shoulder surgery, and I expect him to have his most effective year yet. The question is who lines up next to Crawford at the other tackle spot. Veteran Nick Hayden could be back, but he's set to be an unrestricted free agent.

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