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Texas A&M defensive linemen Kingsley Keke intrigues Cowboys

The Cowboys have a definite need along the interior of their defensive line and NFL Draft hopeful Kingsley Keke could help with that.
Credit: AP
Texas A&M defensive lineman Kingsley Keke runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 3, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS —

The Dallas Cowboys have interest in former Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Kingsley Keke and know exactly where they want him to play.

Kingsley confirmed on Friday at the NFL combine that he had a formal meeting with the Cowboys, and they were really interested in his ability to play the 3-technique.

Having the 6-3, 288-pound defensive lineman play on the inside would replenish the rotation for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Dallas isn't expected to bring back defensive lineman David Irving, and the club is entering the final year of defensive tackle Maliek Collins' contract. The former 2016 third-round pick Collins currently plays the 3-technique for Dallas.

As per the model built by coach Jason Garrett, assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, and chief operating officer Stephen Jones, the goal is to get the most out of their day two and day three draft picks in year three and year four. Then, let them test free agency and draft someone else to replace them.

Since 2010, only defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford (third-round, 2012), linebacker Kyle Wilber (fourth-round, 2012), tight end James Hanna (sixth-round, 2012), and receiver Terrance Williams (third-round, 2013) have been day two or three players and played their way to a second contract with the Cowboys.

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Usually, those types of players (e.g. running back DeMarco Murray, linebacker Anthony Hitchens) have to find their second contract with another team. Taking Keke allows the Cowboys to keep this philosophy going. If Collins wants to stay in Dallas, great. If not, they have his replacement.

While Keke may be from Richmond, Texas, in Fort Bend County in the Houston metro area, he would love to stay in the Lone Star State to play pro football.

"That would mean everything," said Keke at the combine. "I wouldn't have to go very far. Dallas is a great football team and I would love to play for that team and be a part of that D-line and come in and be a difference maker right now."

The former Aggie ran a 4.95 in the 40-yard dash and also posted a 31.5-inch vertical along with a 111-inch broad jump. Keke is the sum of his experiences from being an Aggie and also living in in the Houston area. He incorporates a little of former Aggie defensive lineman Michael Bennett's style into his game with the way he attacks guards and tackles. Keke also likes a little of Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. His favorite move is to use the two-hand swipe.

Keke knows what he would bring the NFL team that drafts him.

"Everything they want in a player, pretty much honestly; an all-around player that wants to get better, is coachable, is a leader, everything, and be able to rush inside, play outside, be versatile, is all for the team," said Keke.

Keke was one of the winners from the NFL combine. As the Cowboys won't pick until the second round, he could be their first such pick when they finally get to participate in the draft.

How much draft capital should the Cowboys invest in the middle of their defensive line after not valuing the position much in the recent past? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.