Cowboys coach Jason Garrett praises long-sought defensive end Kony Ealy

It’s no secret that the Dallas Cowboys have long been interested in defensive end Kony Ealy.

They would have drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft if they hadn’t moved up to get defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

And they tried to claim him off waivers last year when he was released by the New England Patriots, but he was awarded to the New York Jets.

after he agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million, per sources.

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And coach Jason Garrett couldn’t be happier.

“We’re excited about Kony,” Garrett said Sunday night at the Cowboys’ Taste of the NFL event in Frisco. “We spent a lot of time on him coming out in the draft. We visited with him a lot, and we worked him out. He was one of those players we had targeted. At the time, we traded up for DeMarcus Lawrence and that worked out well for us. Kony went to Carolina and had a good career, very impactful in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. We think he’s a good, young player with a lot of potential. We’re going to bring him in here.

“One of the things we try to do with our team is to promote competition at every position. That really is the reason for the decisions that we made in the off-season, to create a competitive environment at every position across the position. We feel like that brings out the best in everybody.”

The Cowboys, after his breakout season in 2017, praise Ealy even though he is with his fourth team since 2014 and has just 15 career sacks.

But they still see Ealy, 26, as an ascending player who has the versatility of playing in multiple schemes. He played in the 4-3 his first three seasons in Carolina before working the 3-4 with the Patriots and the Jets last season.

He can play end and swing down and rush from the tackle position.

“That’s always a challenge when you’re talking about players you get from other teams, players you get coming out in the draft,” Garrett said. “What their exposure has been, what system they’ve played in. We’re fortunate that Kony has played in a system similar to ours in Carolina. We saw him as a four-down type of player coming out of school. So we don’t feel like he has any physical limitations. He’s been exposed to some different systems now as a pro, so we feel like that will benefit him.”

Ealy gives the Cowboys some proven experience behind starters Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford at end, where he will likely rotate with with Taco Charlton, Datone Jones and Charles Tapper.

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The Dallas Cowboys have the 19th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26-28. These are the 15 guys most likely to end up in Dallas, according to draft experts. Lena Blietzlblietz-telegram

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