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Scouting Report: Where Will The Cowboys Play New D-Lineman Jihad Ward?

FRISCO, Texas – Tavon Austin wasn't the only veteran the Cowboys acquired during the course of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Hours after they traded for Austin, the Cowboys pulled off a rare player-for-player swap, sending receiver Ryan Switzer to Oakland in exchange for Jihad Ward.

For those that follow the draft cycle, Ward's name should sound familiar. He played in the Senior Bowl the same year as Dak Prescott, and he was coached by Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys' coaching staff during that year's game. Clearly, the Cowboys liked what they saw of him in the leadup to that draft, and they decided to use their surplus at receiver to address their defensive line depth.

With OTAs approaching, here's a look at Ward and what he might bring to Marinelli's scheme.

Name:Jihad Ward

Position:Defensive Linemen




Draft:2nd round in 2016, selected 44th overall by the Oakland Raiders

  • Played both the left and right defensive end in the Raiders' 3-4 scheme.
  • He is built more like a five-technique defensive end than a 4-3 one. This is a big man at 296 pounds. I could see him lining up at tackle.
  • Has initial quickness off the snap and up the field. Can be up and down in the way he plays. When he's on, he is tough to block.
  • For his size and power, I don't like how he will get worked out of the hole. Moved easily when he plays tall.
  • You'd like to see him get rid of the blocker quicker. Tends to stay engaged too long. Has the strength just doesn't always use it.
  • Some issues with his balance. Zack Martin knocked him around pretty good during their meeting last December.  
  • I will say, he can get some great pass rush push with the inside charge or with a straight bull rush.
  • Needs to fight the cut off block better. Allows blocker to get inside of him. Was too easily taken out of the play. Needs to read it quicker.
  • Will work to retrace his steps once he gets up the field.
  • Fights with his hands but has trouble winning on his pass rush.
  • Nice sack against the Eagles last season, working the twist game with Khalil Mack to give him a free run to finish on Nick Foles.
  • Played in a rotating system. Nothing really dynamic about his game at his current build.  Personally, I would try and slim him down and teach him how to win off the edge.
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