After the Greg Hardy debacle and Randy Gregory's off-field issues, the Cowboys head into Draft season with a mild need at defensive end. There's not much to like once you get past the draft's top tier, but there are a few intriguing options:
Shilique Calhoun, Michigan St.
Ht. 6'4", Wt. 251, Arm: 34 ¼", Hand: 9 ⅞", Bench: 23
40 yd: 4.82, 10 yd.: 1.69, 3 Cone: 6.97, Vertical: 35", Broad: 9'7"
It seems like Shilique Calhoun has been making plays for the Spartans forever. The three-time All-America selection finished his college career with 27 sacks and 44 TFL and was also a two-time finalist for the Hendricks Award.
• Pros: Length, athleticism, burst, bend, runs arc, leverage, hand use, production
• Cons: Temperament (too passive), size, pad level, anchor
Calhoun's production and physical tools appear to point to a top edge rusher, but he lacks elite traits. He's still a relatively safe pick with upside, though he might be more appealing to 3-4 teams.
Verdict: Round 2
Carl Nassib, Penn St.
Ht. 6'7", Wt. 277, Arm: 34 ½", Hand: 10 ⅜", Bench: 21
40 yd: 4.84, 10 yd.: 1.62, 3 Cone: 7.27, Vertical: 28.5", Broad: 9'6"
Carl Nassib went from being a walk-on as a freshman to being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. In 2015, he set the school record for sacks in a season (15.5) and forced fumbles (6) on the way to earning All-America honors, the Ronnie Lott Trophy and the Hendricks and Lombardi awards.
• Pros: Length, bend, burst, runs arc, violent, instinctive, production, motor
• Cons: Strength, inexperienced, balance, counter moves
Nassib lacks necessary strength and experience, but he has the type of size, length and athleticism that NFL coaches can work with. He'd likely start as a rotational player, but his upside is worth a Day 2 pick.
Verdict: Round 3
Matt Judon, Grand Valley St.
Ht. 6'3", Wt. 275, Arm: 33 ⅞", Hand: 9 ½", Bench: 30
40 yd: 4.73, 10 yd.: 1.66, 3 Cone: 7.67, Vertical: 35", Broad: 9'1"
Matt Judon was possibly the most disruptive defender in college football during the 2015 season. The former Laker finished the year with 20 sacks and 23.5 TFLs, earning the Gene Upshaw Trophy — given to the top lineman in Division II.
• Pros: Size, strength, bend, burst, length, leverage, run fits, production
• Cons: Competition, technique, injuries
Judon is a bust risk due to his level of competition, but he has the physical traits to continue his disruptive ways in the NFL. If not for his injury, he'd probably be a third-round value.
Verdict: Round 5
If the Cowboys want an edge rusher in this draft, they'd be wise to take one in the top 35 picks. After that, they'll have to choose from a flawed group in a weak class at the position.