The Dallas Cowboys' defensive fortunes this season will rely on the old (DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch) and new (Trevon Diggs, Micah Parsons). But, hidden in the Dallas depth chart, a new contributor could be ready to emerge.
Defensive end Dorance Armstrong was the Cowboys' representative on Bleacher Report's compilation of the "best-kept secret" on each NFL roster. The Cowboys, despite enjoying a 10-sack increase from 2020 to 2021, will face questions about their pass rush this year. Last season's advanced categories were troubling enough as is and that was before Randy Gregory absconded to Denver.
Armstrong (92) and the Dallas defense
Armstrong earns a sack
It's easy to see why Armstrong, a fourth-round selection from the 2018 draft, was labeled a secret. The Cowboys' potential solutions to fill the Gregory-sized hole were either brought in through more traditional means (i.e. using their second-round pick on Sam Williams, free agent arrival Dante Fowler Jr.) or are younger with more potential upside (i.e. Chauncey Golston).
But while he got lost in the fold, Armstrong carries a potential that the Cowboys are willing to foster. One of the team's first moves this offseason was to grant him a two-year contract extension, apparently pleased with his progress under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
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Despite the team's lack of strong numbers in the advance categories, Armstrong was second amongst returning Dallas defenders in hurries and pressures from last season (behind only Parsons). His participation in 56 percent of defensive snaps also served as a career-best.
Time will tell if Armstrong lives up to the hype that the Cowboys see in him, but, with Gregory gone, one thing's for certain: he won't be "hidden" much longer.