IRVING, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys line up their first-team defense during the organized team activities later this spring, Greg Hardy, provided he has been removed from the commissioner’s exempt list, will be at right defensive end.
But Hardy won’t be locked in at the spot.
“If you watch him play in Carolina , he plays 3-technique, he plays the nose tackle, he plays left end,” coach Jason Garrett said from the NFL owners meetings. “He rushes outside on third down. He rushes inside down. He has great versatility as a player. A lot of different skills. You can use him in a lot of different spots. He is a guy who plays a lot for them. We believe in rotating our defensive line, kind of coming at the offense in waves. He is a guy that played so many snaps for them in a lot of different spots.”
With Hardy lining up initially at right defensive end, it puts Jeremy Mincey, who started every game at right defensive end in 2014, and DeMarcus Lawrence, the team's second-round pick a year ago, in a competition at left defensive end.
Mincey led the Cowboys in sacks with six in 2014. He has played all over the line in his career and could move inside to defensive tackle in the Cowboys’ sub packages. Lawrence was selected with the idea that he was one of the three-best right defensive ends in the draft.
His growth was slowed by a broken foot in training camp and he did not have a sack in the regular season. He picked up two sacks in the Cowboys’ two playoff games.
“DeMarcus really, really grew a lot as a player last year,” Garrett said. “Unfortunately he had the injury early on. But over the course of the season when he got back practicing and playing he really developed. We think he can be a left end, we think he can be a right end, and I think as the year went on we saw the impact he can make for our team. He goes about it the right way. He practices hard. He wants to be a good football player.”