- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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I think the Dallas Cowboys' four-man defensive line in their new 4-3 scheme looks very good as long as the four starters are healthy (DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer at defensive end and Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher at defensive tackle). I think it has a good chance to work. The question is how much they have behind the starting four, and that's where 2012 third-round draft pick Tyrone Crawford could factor in. After bulking up to nearly 300 pounds last season to play as a 3-4 defensive lineman, Crawford is back down to his college weight of 285 and playing the 4-3 defensive end position he played at Boise State. Per Todd Archer:
He played in every game but he did not have a sack. He was credited with 33 tackles and five quarterback pressures.
“I felt like I had more in me,” Crawford said. “I could’ve made a lot more plays and helped this team out a lot more.”
With the move to the 4-3 this year, Crawford figures to be in position to help more. He is also back to 285 pounds. He is playing behind Anthony Spencer at defensive end, but because of Spencer’s knee injury, spent a lot of time working with the first-team defense.
He showed the ability to rush the passer, something he did not get a chance to do as much last year. Now he’s back to doing what he did at Boise State, where he had 13.5 sacks in two seasons.
“I loved it in college, loved paying on the outside in college,” Crawford said. “I’m happy we got into it this year and doing it.”
The Cowboys liked Crawford last offseason as a rookie who could help them as a raw pass-rusher. They just weren't playing the right scheme from which to deploy him as that. While we've focused a lot on starters (Ratliff, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter) who could flourish now that the Cowboys are playing a 4-3, Crawford is a bench player who could do the same.