While free agency officially begins in March, roster turnover isn’t too far away. The Cowboys will indeed add and presumably release players, along with letting some go without a new contract.
However, the majority of the 2018 roster is already in place. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they’ve been and where they’re going.
Today, we’ll continue the series with defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford.
What’s Been Good: He’s just always so active, whether it’s pressuring the quarterback (He ranked third on the team with 25) or getting sacks. Crawford finished with 5.5 despite missing the final two games of the regular season. He moves back and forth from end to tackle and has done throughout most of his career. Having him on the team, especially with all of the injuries that occurred on the D-line, is such a value because he provides depth at two spots.
What’s Been Bad: Not sure this qualifies in the “bad” category, but for all the time Crawford spent in the backfield – registering 5.5 sacks and the 25 QB pressures, he had just one tackle for loss. The Cowboys had 11 other players with more in 2018. Certainly, adding that to his game would make him even more of a dynamic defender for this defense.
2018 Highlight: Crawford had a stretch of games in which he had at least a half-sack in six of eight games, but his best moment arguably occurred in the playoffs against the Seahawks. Sure, he was credited for three tackles and a QB pressure. But just being on the field, only two weeks after suffering what looked to be a scary neck injury that forced him to be carted off the field, was quite an accomplishment. Crawford was able to play and play well for a defense that shut down Seattle’s running game.
What’s Next: We seem to say this every year, but the next step for Crawford won’t be initiated by him. His position flexibility to play both end and tackle is a luxury for the Cowboys and therefore, his next move will be predicated by offseason moves, such as signings, departures and what happens in the draft. As it stands now, Crawford would seemingly play inside at tackle, especially with David Irving being a free agent and Antwaun Woods coming off surgery. But who knows what will transpire throughout the summer. We know Crawford will be ready and willing to play either spot.
There are defensive tackles, defensive ends and then there is Tyrone Crawford. For his entire career, the versatile lineman has played both spots, giving him unique position flex.
Bryan’s Bottom Line: I can’t begin to tell you how much I respect this player. Doesn’t know the word “No”. Whatever it was asked of him, he did his best to deliver. Fans tend to focus on his salary instead of appreciating what he brings to the lineup each week. The overall success of guys like DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are in large part due to Crawford’s ability to do his job as well as he does. What will be interesting going forward is where does the front office see as his best fit? The biggest question for them is what is going to happening at tackle? Crawford could see more fulltime action inside as part of a rotation with Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins. A lot of this will depend on the upcoming draft and the development of Randy Gregory, Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong. If those young guys show promise then that would allow the staff to move Crawford back inside full time but if they don’t Crawford will likely continue to start at right end.