Cowboys sign defensive tackle Austin

Hoping to bolster a depleted defensive line, the Cowboys signed once-promising defensive tackle Marvin Austin on Monday.

“He worked out this morning, and he had a good workout,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said before Austin’s signing was announced.

Austin was a second-round pick (52nd overall) in 2011 by the Giants, who know a thing or two about developing defensive linemen. After spending his rookie season on injured reserve and playing in eight games last season, Austin was released in the final cuts before the start of the season.

“He’s in pretty decent shape because he’s been in training camp and been playing,” Garrett said. “You’d like to tap into some of that ability that caused him to be such a high draft pick.”

Austin was picked up by the Dolphins and played in two games before being released Oct. 15.

“He’s a good player. He’s a guy that we thought a lot of coming out of school. He went to North Carolina. He was a high pick for the Giants. At the time we were playing a 3-4 style of defense and he was probably better suited being a 4-3 guy, an interior defensive tackle,” Garrett said.

“He’s one of those guys we kind of kept our eye on. Obviously with our situation on the defensive line we’ve had a lot of different injuries there. You look at the landscape of personnel and see who you can bring in and try to help your football team.”

The Cowboys’ defensive line has been banged and battered this season. Defensive end DeMarcus Ware missed his first game, ever, on Sunday with a strained quadriceps (thigh). Anthony Spencer, the other projected starting end, has been placed on injured reserve and tackle Jay Ratliff was released last week without ever appearing in a game this season.

Staring tackle Jason Hatcher (neck) and end George Selvie (shoulder) have also been slowed by injuries.

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire