On July 23rd, The NFL reinstated Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory.
Gregory is an incredibly talented player, but he comes with a ton of baggage and questions. After multiple suspensions for drug abuse, he was hit with an indefinite ban, which has resulted in only two games played since 2015.
The road to Recovery?
So what does a player with such a troubled past provide? Well if and that’s a big if at the moment, let’s say he has put his demons behind him and is ready to focus on football again. What he offers is a ton of upside and potential, at a position the Cowboys are desperate for production. He was a highly touted defensive end coming out of Nebraska and was projected by many to be the next big star, despite the warning signs that were beginning to pop up even then.
He has all the tools to be just that, but it has been his decision making that has kept him from reaching his full potential. At the time he drew comparisons talent-wise, between Jason Taylor and Leonard Little. A terrific pass rusher, who could easily convert speed to power. He has a variety of moves, including an impressive inside counter move, that he uses with tremendous lean, to set up his opponents. Gregory has a long and thin frame, with good speed (4.64) and strong combine numbers enticed a few teams to overlook the warning signs of trouble.
The Cowboys were one of those teams, and long after most organizations would have cut their losses and moved on from him, they have stuck it out during the bad times in hopes of reaping the rewards someday. Well, the time has come to see if their perseverance will pay off or if they will be snake-bitten again.
If the Cowboys hit the jackpot and Gregory has honestly turned it around, then they could reap huge rewards. They are desperate for a pass rusher to play opposite Demarcus Lawrence, and they don’t have a lot of quality depth behind him. Despite the lengthy suspensions, Gregory is still just twenty-five years old. He has hardly any wear and tear and plenty of football ahead of him. Gregory would be a massive boost for the Cowboys pass rush, especially in sub packages where he can pin his ears back and go eat up QB’s.
I think Gregory still has untapped potential, a forty plus tackle and 8-10 sack season isn’t a stretch for him. I’m not saying that’s what you should expect from him, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all. Again we’re operating on the premise that he is focused now. He’s not going to be asked to drop into coverage, which is not his strong suit. His role will be to seek and destroy. The Cowboys will want to get ahead and ride Ezekiel Elliott and that run game to beat opponents down, which would allow Gregory to be used most effectively. If you’re a gambler and looking for a high risk / high reward player, then this is your guy. Good luck!