Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Cowboys [Print without images]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Henry Melton can deal with the pressure

By Calvin Watkins

The Dallas Cowboys' biggest free agent signing is defensive tackle Henry Melton, who left the Chicago Bears, to sign a one-year deal with an option for three additional years at the club's discretion.

After losing star defensive end DeMarcus Ware and standout defensive tackle Jason Hatcher in free agency, the Cowboys, with limited salary cap space, were struggling to find the right fits from a financial and scheme standpoint for a defense that finished last in 2013.

Melton becomes the main guy for the pass rush in 2014 as the pass rushing defensive tackle.

"That's what the position demands," Melton said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. "It doesn't matter. I was part of a great defense (in Chicago). I had a lot of Hall of Famers, future Hall of Famers on my team but I still have a bullseye playing that position. For the defense to be successful, the three technique has to do his job and be very disruptive."

As part of the recruiting process, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had dinner with Melton at the Gaylord Hotel on Monday night to talk about all the beautiful music they could make together.

In 2012, while playing for Marinelli in Chicago, Melton earned a Pro Bowl berth with 44 tackles and six sacks. In a two-year span, 2011 and 2012, Melton had 13 sacks and emerged as a young talented player for the Bears 4-3 defense.

Outside of last season where Melton played in just three games before suffering a season-ending ACL injury, his tackle totals increased and that's because of what Marinelli commands of his linemen.

"The under tackle in Marinelli's scheme is very disruptive," Melton said. "It's fun. Not a lot of people can do it. You have to be very athletic to make plays when doing it, but it's fun. It's never wrong when you’re trying to rush the passer, you're never wrong when you're being physical. It's something that I know and trust and I believe in."