In some ways 2013 did not answer enough questions for the Cowboys regarding personnel. NFL Nation reporter Todd Archer looks at players the Cowboys don’t know about for a variety of reasons.
Crawford played in every game as a rookie in 2012 and had 33 tackles but he did not have a sack and had only five quarterback pressures. He bulked up to close to 300 pounds to play in the Cowboys’ 3-4 scheme and showed some promise.
With the shift to the 4-3, Crawford was viewed as something of a super sub. He dropped down to 284 pounds and could play the strongside defensive end spot and both tackle spots in passing situations.
Then in the first practice in Oxnard, Calif., he tore his Achilles and was done for the season, setting off a chain of events that kept the Cowboys playing musical chairs along the defensive line for the full season.
Crawford’s rehab to date has gone without a hitch. He was doing some resistance training by the end of the season. After seeing the return of Barry Church in 2013 from a torn Achilles suffered in Week 3 in 2012, the Cowboys can be encouraged Crawford can be a viable help to a defensive line that will need a lot of help.
But he is still a question mark. To the draftniks, Crawford was a solid pick in the third round. To others he was something of a reach albeit with a high ceiling on what he could be. He had 13.5 sacks in two seasons at Boise State. He was disruptive, with 27 tackles for a loss in two seasons.
The Cowboys need more of that on a defensive line that could be without its leader in sacks in Jason Hatcher, most natural pass-rusher in DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, who had 11 sacks in 2012 because of free agency or salary-cap purposes.
The Cowboys should enter 2014 believing anything they get from Crawford is gravy, not something that is set in stone.
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