FLASHBACK- 2012 NFL DRAFT: Defensive End Tyrone Crawford expected to be even better in the new 4-3 scheme
Crawford ended up at Boise State by way of junior college, proving himself an intriguing prospect after only one year starting at defensive end. He is originally from Canada, where he played for a year after high school and prior to attending Bakersfield College. He has a ton of upside considering his history, and possesses prototypical NFL athletic ability and speed on a perfect frame. He can play in various spots across a defensive line and could be plugged into a number of schemes. He is a bit of a late riser and has second- or third-round value as a developmental prospect with starting traits.
Crawford is quick to get out of his stance off the snap and has the instincts to slant and hit a gap without being touched. He is consistently disrupting plays in the backfield and is a solid tackler. He is a strong player who shows an explosive arm jolt when keeping blockers at bay. Crawford shows good change of direction when stopping to pursue plays laterally. As a rusher, his motor is the key to his success. He never gives up on a play and can use a strong burst to get to the quarterback. He has a ton of upside, which undoubtedly increases his value to teams that are set at the position and willing to work with him. Despite his size, he could play special teams early on in his career because he has such a nasty demeanor.
Crawford is a raw prospect with limited experience. He will be a project early on for the team that selects him, and he could have a tough time adapting right away. He has had trouble getting off double-teams, which is likely a technique issue. Crawford will need extra coaching and attention to adjust to the NFL.
Third round: DE Tyrone Crawford from Boise State
How he fared: Crawford contributed his rookie season and showed flashes that he will be even better in the Cowboys’ new 4-3 scheme in 2013. Crawford finished his rookie season with 33 tackles and five quarterback pressures.
How he rates: He still has more to give and should contribute more in his sophomore campaign.
College: With their second selection of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys addressed the defensive line with a raw and gifted athlete in Tyrone Crawford in the third round (81st overall). While with the Cowboys, the team will look to use his talent and size to the advantage of the defensive line rotation as he adapts to the pro game. During his final two collegiate seasons at Boise State, Crawford collected 76 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 27.5 tackles for loss, two quarterback pressures, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries – including one for a 32-yard touchdown – and blocked two kicks while starting 11-of-25 contests. Crawford began his collegiate career at Bakersfield, Calif., Junior College where he totaled 80 tackles, 14.0 sacks, 27 tackles for loss, six quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in two seasons.
The Dallas Cowboys have yet to see anything from receiver Danny Coale, a fourth-round pick a year ago. But if he can get on the field, his former coach said they will see a clutch player.
“One time, I was asked, ‘How does that guy always get open?’ ” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “Plays develop and plays develop and plays develop, and there’s Danny wide open – I don’t know how many times that happened at Tech.
“He’s fast, but you just look at him, you don’t think he is. He sneaks up on you. I think people underestimated his speed sometimes. But he catches the ball. He gets open. And he’s got some toughness to him.”
Beamer said he has not spoken to Coale since the Cowboys drafted him, but he knows his former player is doing his best to be ready for the season. A broken foot in the offseason and a hamstring problem in training camp were two of the reasons Coale wound up spending the entire year on the practice squad.
“Just knowing Danny, he’s always a very positive guy, always a guy that rose to the occasion,” Beamer said. “I’m pulling for him hard, I can tell you that.”
The Cowboys have another Virginia Tech player on the roster, tight end Andre Smith, who went undrafted in 2011 but signed with Chicago and then spent last year with Indianapolis.
“Another great kid – really pulling for him,” Beamer said. “Hope everything will work out great. That’s the one thing at Virginia Tech I’m as proud of as anything – the type of player we have in our program: really good kids, great character, want to be successful, want to work hard. Andre is a good example of that.”