Scout's Eye: Cowboys O-Line Will Have Their Hands Full With These Five DTs

damon-harrison.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Sept. 10; Plays vs. Dallas on Dec. 10)

  • Active for his size. Doesn't just sit in one place and take up blocks. Can play with lateral quickness and pursuit. Will stay square as he works down the line, doesn't get turned. Will flatten out the blocker as he works down the line.
  • Has power in his hands. Can control the blocker when he extends them. Is hard to move off the line due to his mass. Can't turn him or position block him. When you try, he will compress the blocker into the ball carrier.
  • Even when he draws a double team, he can stand his ground. Gets push in the pocket with his power. Doesn't show many pass rush moves but did beat Travis Frederick with a quick arm over move to get a tackle for loss. Good instincts when playing the run. Does a really nice job of reading the blocking scheme, then adjusting to the play. 
  • Will surprise you with his range. Shows the ability to finish plays. Very consistent down after down with his effort and desire. Not an every down player. Will come off the field in nickel situations.
  • In two games, gave the inside three for the Cowboys all they could handle. 

#2. Fletcher Cox

Philadelphia Eagles  (6-4, 298)   5th Year

flecher-cox.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Nov. 19; Plays vs. Dallas on Dec. 31)

  • There are few players in this league that have the ability to play well in any scheme you put them in - Fletcher Cox is one of those guys. He is a combination of physical toughness and explosive quickness.
  • He is tough to move due to his upper body power and strength which he shows in his hands when he extends them. Cox plays with nice balance when he makes contact. It is rare that you see him knocked off balance or out of position with his body. Can easily control blockers and when he sees the ball, he sheds and finishes the play. 
  • Impressed with his ability to play with lateral quickness and agility. Have to make sure that he is completely blocked because have seen him make plays where he split double teams or went back door on a block and still make the tackle. Motor, effort and pursuit is outstanding as a pass rusher. Has the ability to play as a true rush defensive end with a full tool set of moves.
  • Will go with a quick arm over or hit you with a powerful rip move. Shows the ability to bend when he gets the edge and can be disruptive in the pocket to finish. Played as a 3-4 defensive end early in his career and now under lines up as the under tackle in a 4-3. 
  • Big time, physical player. Is one of the toughest players for this Dallas offensive line to have to block each year. 

#1. Aaron Donald  

Los Angeles Rams  (6-1, 285)   4th Year

aaron-donald.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Oct. 1)

  • Real passion for the game. Can see that he loves the game by the way that he plays. Don't let his size fool you, one of the toughest players in the league. Tremendous effort down after down. There is no quit to his game. Relentless in the way he plays.
  • Playing speed and overall quickness is outstanding. Shows a closing burst when he is chasing the ball. Can really accelerate when he needs to. Can get lateral in a hurry. When he wins off the snap can be on the ball carrier before he has a chance to make a cut. Can really penetrate as a one-gap player. When on the move he is hard to control. Just doesn't stay still.
  • His compact build allows him the ability to change directions quickly. Will plant his foot and then explode to the ball. Rare body control and balance. Can get through small cracks and gaps with ease.
  • Does a really nice job of playing on his feet. Don't see him on the ground at all. Good lower body bend with lower body strength. Holds up well at the point of attack. Plays with power. Takes advantage of his quick hands. Will fire them into the blocker and can control. Is able to shed quickly and get to the ball. 
  • This is a disciplined player. Have to account for him every snap. Perfect fit for a 4-3 scheme but now having to play in a 3-4 with the coaching change. Reminds me of La'Roi Glover when he played in Dallas.

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FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys might have the best offensive line in the NFL, but looking at some of the players on the 2017 schedule, they're going to need every bit of that talent when facing these defensive linemen. 

Here's a look at my five defensive tackles the Cowboys will have to play this upcoming season: 

#5. Bennie Logan  

Kansas City Chiefs  (6-2, 309)  4th Year

bennie-logan.jpg

(Plays at Dallas On Nov. 5)

  • Started his career in Philadelphia and is now with the Chiefs. Plays with initial quickness off the snap. Has some short area quickness to his game. Nice arm over move to free himself on the rush. Has the upper body power to push the blocker back in the pocket. Will use that same power to control the line of scrimmage. 
  • Will stay square and not allow the blocker to take him up the field. Hard to get push on him. Can penetrate and cause problems in the blocking scheme. Bounces off blockers when they try to double team him. Needs better body control and balance to finish in the pocket.  Had a chance for a sack against the Packers but allowed Aaron Rodgers to spin away.
  • Doesn't always play with instincts. Will get in personal battles with blockers and the ball will go past him. Is not as good of a player when he gets tired. To be at his best, needs to be in a rotation. Impressive in the way that he plays with power.
  • Chiefs will play him at nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme to replace Dontari Poe who signed with the Falcons.             

#4. Grady Jarrett  

Atlanta Falcons  (6-1, 304)   3rd Year

grady-jarrett.jpg

(Plays vs. Dallas on Nov. 12)

  • Short, compact player. Does a really nice job of playing with leverage. Can extend his hands to control blockers. Works up the field as he's pushing with his hands. Plays with initial quickness off the snap. Is always on the move, doesn't stop. Really attacks the shoulder of the blocker when he comes off the ball. Relentless in his effort. Three big sacks in the Super Bowl playing that way. Never gave up on the play and was able to trap Brady in the pocket all three times.
  • Really tight to the penetrator on the twist. Technique is outstanding. Can set up the blocker with his rush. Will start wide then quickly duck inside once he feels that weight transfer. Nice arm over move to free himself. Does a nice job of playing the cut block with his hands. 
  • Manages to keep his legs free to work down the line. Adjusts well to play off the double team block. Doesn't let the blockers get into his body. Balance to fight through the trash.
  • Will finish as a tackler. Will wrap up to get ball carrier on the ground. Has the instincts and awareness to sniff out the screen – not fooled. Young guy that's complete in the way he plays. Good all-around.

#3. Damon Harrison  

New York Giants (6-4, 350)  6th Year

damon-harrison.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Sept. 10; Plays vs. Dallas on Dec. 10)

  • Active for his size. Doesn't just sit in one place and take up blocks. Can play with lateral quickness and pursuit. Will stay square as he works down the line, doesn't get turned. Will flatten out the blocker as he works down the line.
  • Has power in his hands. Can control the blocker when he extends them. Is hard to move off the line due to his mass. Can't turn him or position block him. When you try, he will compress the blocker into the ball carrier.
  • Even when he draws a double team, he can stand his ground. Gets push in the pocket with his power. Doesn't show many pass rush moves but did beat Travis Frederick with a quick arm over move to get a tackle for loss. Good instincts when playing the run. Does a really nice job of reading the blocking scheme, then adjusting to the play. 
  • Will surprise you with his range. Shows the ability to finish plays. Very consistent down after down with his effort and desire. Not an every down player. Will come off the field in nickel situations.
  • In two games, gave the inside three for the Cowboys all they could handle. 

#2. Fletcher Cox

Philadelphia Eagles  (6-4, 298)   5th Year

flecher-cox.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Nov. 19; Plays vs. Dallas on Dec. 31)

  • There are few players in this league that have the ability to play well in any scheme you put them in - Fletcher Cox is one of those guys. He is a combination of physical toughness and explosive quickness.
  • He is tough to move due to his upper body power and strength which he shows in his hands when he extends them. Cox plays with nice balance when he makes contact. It is rare that you see him knocked off balance or out of position with his body. Can easily control blockers and when he sees the ball, he sheds and finishes the play. 
  • Impressed with his ability to play with lateral quickness and agility. Have to make sure that he is completely blocked because have seen him make plays where he split double teams or went back door on a block and still make the tackle. Motor, effort and pursuit is outstanding as a pass rusher. Has the ability to play as a true rush defensive end with a full tool set of moves.
  • Will go with a quick arm over or hit you with a powerful rip move. Shows the ability to bend when he gets the edge and can be disruptive in the pocket to finish. Played as a 3-4 defensive end early in his career and now under lines up as the under tackle in a 4-3. 
  • Big time, physical player. Is one of the toughest players for this Dallas offensive line to have to block each year. 

#1. Aaron Donald  

Los Angeles Rams  (6-1, 285)   4th Year

aaron-donald.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Oct. 1)

  • Real passion for the game. Can see that he loves the game by the way that he plays. Don't let his size fool you, one of the toughest players in the league. Tremendous effort down after down. There is no quit to his game. Relentless in the way he plays.
  • Playing speed and overall quickness is outstanding. Shows a closing burst when he is chasing the ball. Can really accelerate when he needs to. Can get lateral in a hurry. When he wins off the snap can be on the ball carrier before he has a chance to make a cut. Can really penetrate as a one-gap player. When on the move he is hard to control. Just doesn't stay still.
  • His compact build allows him the ability to change directions quickly. Will plant his foot and then explode to the ball. Rare body control and balance. Can get through small cracks and gaps with ease.
  • Does a really nice job of playing on his feet. Don't see him on the ground at all. Good lower body bend with lower body strength. Holds up well at the point of attack. Plays with power. Takes advantage of his quick hands. Will fire them into the blocker and can control. Is able to shed quickly and get to the ball. 
  • This is a disciplined player. Have to account for him every snap. Perfect fit for a 4-3 scheme but now having to play in a 3-4 with the coaching change. Reminds me of La'Roi Glover when he played in Dallas.

More Positions:

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