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    2017 Breakout Candidates: DE Benson Mayowa

    The need for an improved pass rush is the main topic of the . In all of the discussion, though, last year's sack leader has somehow become an afterthought. Could the Cowboys best pass rusher still be Benson Mayowa, and what impact could he have on the 2017 ?

    Whether it's the drafting of , the delayed debut of , the hopes placed on , or 's contract year, it seems that every other defensive end is being looked at to fix the Cowboys' biggest weakness. However, there is reason to think that Benson Mayowa can also be a major factor.

    Benson Mayowa
    DE Benson Mayowa

    Of his six total in 2016, Mayowa had 3.5 of them in just four games from Weeks 13-16. That is almost one sack per game, and I don't have to tell you what 14-15 sacks would mean for the Cowboys defense. It also means Mayowa would have an almost guaranteed trip to the .

    It's no surprise that Benson Mayowa needed some time to find his footing in Dallas. He'd spent two seasons in Oakland is a backup 3-4 outside , getting little playing time. Mayowa not only had to learn a new style of play but also an increased level of responsibility. Based on that last quarter of 2016, though, it seems that he made the adjustment.

    Dallas certainly showed faith in Mayowa when they signed him to a three-year, $8.25 million contract as a last year. Part of this was to make sure that the Raiders, who'd tagged Benson as a , didn't match the deal. But the willingness to pay Mayowa close to $3 million pear year, given his lack of playing time, was a huge statement about his perceived potential.

    Benson Mayowa
    DE Benson Mayowa

    Even if Mayowa keeps developing, the fight for playing time will still be difficult. The teammates we mentioned earlier will all be contending for snaps. 's rotation-heavy scheme will allow for every to get time, but it could limit their ability to really have a standout season.

    Of course, this isn't the Cowboys concern. If a rotation keeps our guys fresh and keeps opposing quarterbacks pressured, that is certainly the best thing for the team.

    That said, a breakout star at defensive end will be hard to take off the field. The rotation plan makes sense when you don't have a catalytic player in the mix, which has been the case for the Dallas defensive line for a while. If someone starts consistently making plays and making teammates better, we will likely see that player start getting more star treatment.

    At this point, there is no reason to think that player can't be Benson Mayowa. He has as much a claim to the spot as anyone after last season, and we just may be underrating his upside.

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    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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    3 COMMENTS

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    Donny King

    I like Mayowa’s potential. Coach Marinelli always gets the best out of his merry band of rushman. It only takes 1 snap for 1 sack. Just because x player gets less time, doesn’t mean they wont be a productive pass rusher, imagine D-Law, Irving, Taco, Mayowa all having double digit sacks this upcoming year, that’s a minimum 10 snaps…that’s allot to think about

    Kevin Black

    I like Mayowa and Moore at the RDE this season. I believe we will see Taco and Lawrence as the main LDEs this year. That will allow Collins and Irving to play together on passing downs. Don’t look now, but Crawford might be a bubble guy. They might still keep him this year, but he might not be on the roster next year.

    Kevin Black

    I like Mayowa and Moore at RDE. I can see Taco and Lawrence at LDE. That would allow them to have Irving and Collins together on passing downs. Don’t look now, but that puts Crawford on the bubble. He will probably stay on the roster this year, but he might not be with them next year.


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