Higher hopes for Cowboys' Crawford

IRVING, Texas -- Last year the Dallas Cowboys had high hopes for Tyrone Crawford as their top backup defensive lineman. They might be forced to have higher hopes for him in 2014.

Crawford tore his Achilles on the first day of training camp last summer, which began the defensive line shuffle that lasted all season. He did not play a snap in a game.

With Jason Hatcher, who led the Cowboys with 11 sacks, set to hit free agency, Crawford, whose rehab has progressed well, could be the replacement.

“The good thing about Crawford is that he's versatile,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “I think he could be an under tackle. I think he could be a left end. That was unfortunately a tough one that we lost. We thought he was going to be player No. 5 for us that could be versatile and play a lot of snaps.”

Last season the Cowboys saw Barry Church return from a torn Achilles suffered in Week 3 of the 2012 season and Church did not have any issues. They have the same hopes for Crawford, who played in every game as a rookie in 2012 and had 20 tackles.

“You've got to see the guy move,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “I haven't had the chance to do much with him other than OTAs, so a guy like that we've got to kind of get him started because he's got the ability to move inside and outside.”