FRISCO, Texas – In a time full of unknowns, at least there's a slight bit of clarity about the Cowboys' defensive end position.
Coming out of this year's draft, that's perhaps the one spot that looks like a weak link on this current roster. The Cowboys did draft a defensive end, but they waited all the way until the fifth round to select Bradlee Anae. They signed All-Pro Aldon Smith, but it has been almost five years since the veteran pass rusher has played a game. He also has yet to be reinstated from an indefinite suspension by the NFL. The same can be said for Randy Gregory.
The other primary candidate to man the right defensive end position is Tyrone Crawford, and it's been a long road for him, as well.
Crawford spoke briefly with DallasCowboys.com last week during the team's official schedule release show, and he gave a positive update on where he stands on his offseason recovery.
"Surprisingly, I'm feeling great," he said. "I didn't think I was going to be feeling as good as I am at this point."
The veteran pass rusher was bothered by hip problems as far back as the 2018 season, and he missed the 2019 offseason program and training camp during his rehabilitation process. The problem improved only marginally, and he was placed on injured reserve and slated for surgery on both hips in October.
"Obviously, double hip surgery is nothing to play around with. But I'm feeling awesome, ready to go," Crawford said.
Crawford wound up appearing in just for games last season – the first two, and then the losses to Green Bay and the New York Jets after a two-week break. He managed a sack in the season opener, but he finished the season with just three tackles.
He has found some success since the Cowboys moved him out to defensive end during the 2016 season. In 2018, he finished with 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits, primarily from the right end position.
The Cowboys will undoubtedly be hoping that Smith and Gregory can provide some depth at the position, but it's at least encouraging to have an experienced option rounding into good health.
"I just wish we could get out there with the guys right now, but obviously with the problems going on with COVID, that's not allowed to happen," Crawford said. "So working through things like this and through our meetings, just doing what I can at my house to stay in shape."