The Dallas Cowboys are no strangers to sending several of their players to the Pro Bowl each year and despite the drastically different seasons the last two years, the Cowboys still had quite a few players headed to Hawaii.
Just in case you may have forgotten, the Cowboys finished with a winning record of 12-4 in 2014, but the following season in 2015 those numbers flip-flopped and they finished with a losing record of 4-12.
I guess I’m just like any other fan and I really enjoy the anticipation of finding out who might be voted into the Pro Bowl each year, but it’s those first year participants that I truly enjoy finding out about.
After the completion of the 2014 season, the Dallas Cowboys had six players voted into the Pro Bowl. Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin all made the trip to Hawaii. This of course was the first time for both Frederick and Martin to be voted in, making it a truly special event for the two of them.
Despite the 4-12 record, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Dan Bailey, and Sean Lee all traveled to Hawaii.
This was the first time Sean Lee was voted in. It probably would have happened much sooner, but his struggle with injuries have cut several of his seasons short and prevented his Pro Bowl chances.
Sean Lee’s first trip to the Pro Bowl started me thinking about which current Dallas Cowboys players have the best chance to make their first trip to the Pro Bowl?
Well, I came up with four players that I think have a really good chance to make their first trip to the Pro Bowl after the completion of the 2016 season.
Byron Jones, FS
I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when the announcement was made. Jones was my choice to be the Cowboys first-round draft pick all along and after the completion of his first year in the NFL, I think that selection has now been justified.
As a rookie, Jones had 66 tackles and nine pass deflections while playing several positions in the Cowboys secondary. Jones played free safety, outside cornerback, slot cornerback, and even some dime linebacker in 2015. His versatility was a welcomed addition to the Cowboys defense.
For the upcoming 2016 season he should only have to focus solely on the free safety position and that should not only bring out the best in Jones as a player, but also help solidify the backend of the Cowboys defense.
I for one have high expectations for Jones in 2016 and that is why I’m predicting he gets voted into his first Pro Bowl.
Tyrone Crawford, DT
Crawford battled through a shoulder injury the majority of the 2015 season and it really had an impact on his effectiveness to make plays in the backfield and rush the passer. Despite battling through an injury, Crawford still managed 35 tackles and five quarterback sacks.
I’m actually expecting a bigger impact from Crawford in the 2016 season now that the Cowboys have upgraded the 1-tech with free-agent signee Cedric Thorton and I don’t think it’s out of the question to think that he could possibly reach double-digit QB sacks.
Remember, Jason Hatcher accumulated 11 quarterback sacks as a member of the Cowboys in 2013.
It will be difficult for Crawford to be voted into the Pro Bowl as a defensive tackle, but I think he has a really good chance if he can remain healthy the entire season.
La’el Collins, G
The Cowboys already have three Pro Bowl players along the offensive line in Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith, and Zack Martin, but there is reason to believe that Collins could join the three after the completion of the 2016 season.
Collins started 11 games as a rookie for the Cowboys in 2015 and put together quite a few highlight reels during that time span. He still had his rookie moments though and will need to improve some of those problem areas in order to reach his full potential.
Collins was believed to have been a top 10-15 talent coming out LSU and it’s that talent that could help carry him to his first Pro Bowl bid in his second season in the NFL.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Ezekiel Elliott put together quite an impressive resume in college as an Ohio State Buckeye, and that is one of the reasons why the Dallas Cowboys believed he was a perfect fit to be the future running back for the organization.
Elliott has a perfect blend of agility, power, and elusiveness. He should be a better fit than Darren McFadden as a RB in the zone blocking scheme that the Cowboys use and running behind the Cowboys dominant offensive line should help Elliott not only compete for rookie of the year, but his first Pro Bowl as well.
Elliott’s running style and the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive line should help complement each other and be the driving force that leads the entire offense in 2016.
Look for offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to get back to the 2014 blueprint that worked so well for them and that blueprint should also help benefit Elliott’s bid to his first Pro Bowl.
Do you agree or disagree with these first year Pro Bowl candidates?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide your thoughts and opinions on this topic.