The Dallas Cowboys had a glaring need at defensive tackle, and chose to address it via the 2014 NFL draft. Selected by the Cowboys in the seventh round, former NIU defensive tackle Ken Bishop (6-foot-1, 308 pounds) has been given an opportunity to help fill that need. The Cowboys also added former Akron offensive linemen Jerrod Pughsley as an undrafted free agent rookie signee.
We wanted to know more about how these players fit in with their new team, so we caught up with Dave Halprin, editor and creator of Blogging The Boys, SB Nation's Dallas Cowboys site, to get their take on Bishop as well as Pughsley.
(This interview has been condensed and edited)
Hustle Belt: What was the overall reaction when Bishop was selected in the seventh round?
David Halprin: Mostly positive, Bishop had visited the Cowboys on an official pre-draft visit so we were somewhat familiar with him. Fans were also desperate to get some beef along the defensive line so he helps in that regard, also.
HB: What competition will Bishop face as we enter mini camp?
DH: The Cowboys are using the quantity approach to their defensive line, so Bishop will be thrown into the mix with plenty of guys at defensive tackle. Fortunately for him, besides Henry Melton at the 3-tech position, nobody else is really a sure thing. The 1-tech defensive tackle is an open competition so if Bishop can prove to be a stout run-stopper able to handle double teams, he could see time there. There are a lot of guys in the mix, but the competition is wide-open at both tackle spots behind Melton.
HB: How do you see Bishop fitting into the Cowboys defensive scheme?
DH: From what I know of him, he seems ideal as a 1-tech defensive tackle. Stout against the run, able to hold the point of attack. Take on double-teams in the running game. But he could also see some action at the 3-tech if he shows he can get upfield and cause disruption in the backfield and get after the QB
HB: Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has a reputation of getting the most out of lesser known talents. Is there some expectations for Bishop to perform immediately given Marinelli's track record with similar talents.
DH: It's true that Marinelli has done wonders in turning some journeyman talent into productive starters. But Bishop will have to fight through guys like Nick Hayden and Terrell McClain, along with a few other UDFAs for any kind of playing time. Like I said before, the Cowboys are throwing quantity at the interior line problem in an effort to find quality. So Bishop stands a chance, but there's a lot of competition.
HB: The Cowboys also signed former Akron offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley as an undrafted free agent. With the o-line struggling in the past will Pughsley provide depth or does he have a chance to fight for a starting spot?
DH: The Cowboys offensive line has actually turned the corner and is no longer struggling. They were a very solid unit last year and with the addition of first-round pick Zack Martin this year, it's becoming a strength of the team. Jarrod Pughsley is strictly battling for a backup spot.
Hustle Belt would like to thank Blogging The Boys and David Halprin for their time and insight on the team and where our beloved Macletes chances stand on their new roster.