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5 Cowboys Backups Who Could Earn Starting Role in 2018

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Backups Who Could Earn Starting Role in 2018

As things stand right now, the Dallas Cowboys don't have very many starting positions up for grabs. That means almost all 22 starting positions on both offense and defense are spoken for already, which is a good thing by the way, unless you're a backup wanting to earn more playing time.

Being a backup is never really a good feeling, especially as a professional athlete. Up until reaching the NFL, most of these players rarely came off the field at their given position and have had to kind of learn to swallow their pride a little. But, that doesn't make them any less important to the overall team's success.

Case in point, look what happened to the Dallas Cowboys last season when Tyron Smith had to miss some time due to his reoccurring back injuries. The Cowboys didn't have an adequate backup left tackle to step in, which ended up having a negative ripple effect to the entire offense. That is why some of the best teams in the league end up being the ones with good depth throughout the roster.

Today I want to share with you some the Dallas Cowboys backup players who I believe could earn a starting role in 2018. Remember, there aren't very many starting positions up for grabs. Luckily for the players mentioned below, all of them happen to play a position with no clear-cut starter right now.

Ryan Switzer

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

If we learned one thing from Ryan Switzer's rookie season, it is he is explosive in the open field when he has the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, we didn't really get to see what kind of wide receiver he can be with the Dallas Cowboys, but that could change in 2018.

Cole Beasley's status with the Cowboys is still up in the air right now. The Cowboys can save quite a bit of money by releasing or trading him, even though there's no indication they are planning to do either. But, if they do move on from Beasley, I believe Ryan Switzer could step in and adequately replace his production.

Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

A lot of Cowboys Nation wasn't too thrilled that the Dallas Cowboys decided to use their 2017 first-round draft pick on Taco Charlton, but like it or not, we're stuck with him now. Charlton didn't have the most impressive rookie season, but he started to show signs of improvement towards the end of the season.

The right defensive end position is up for grabs, and if Charlton can pick up where he left off, he has a real chance of earning the starting role in 2018. He already has the size and athleticism to play the position and with a full year in the Cowboys strength and conditioning program, he should be much more prepared to hold up for a full 16 game season.

Xavier Woods

Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys S Xavier Woods

With Byron Jones moving to cornerback full-time, the Dallas Cowboys suddenly find themselves pretty thin at the safety position. In fact, we could see entirely new starters on the backend of the Cowboys defense in 2018, and one of those players could be Xavier Woods.

Xavier Woods played a variety of different roles in the Cowboys secondary as a rookie. He might just have been the most impressive player in the Cowboys entire draft class last year. I for one am really excited to see what Xavier Woods can do if he takes over at free safety. I actually think he is a poor man's Earl Thomas.

Kavon Frazier

Kavon Frazier

Dallas Cowboys S Kavon Frazier

After being mostly a special-teams contributor to start his career in the NFL, Kavon Frazier finally received his chance to show what he can provide to the Dallas Cowboys defense towards the end of 2017. It was a small sample size, but Frazier showed enough on film that he could compete for more playing time, if not a starting role in 2018.

Frazier could be the hard-hitting/enforcer type safety the Cowboys had in Barry Church before he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars. But, with Kris Richard now in charge of the Cowboy secondary (Seattle Seahawks former defensive coordinator), Frazier could be the Cowboys version of Kam Chancellor. It will be interesting to see how the safety position plays out leading up to the start of the season.

Rico Gathers

Rico Gathers

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

To be completely honest, there is no way Rico Gathers overtakes Jason Witten to become the Dallas Cowboys starting tight end. Witten isn't quite the same player he once was, but he is a reliable target in the passing game and has the trust of the coaching staff. But, it's time for him to step aside a little bit, which is where Gathers comes in.

Gathers is a mismatch nightmare for opposing defensive backs due to his immense size and athletic ability. He has shown flashes of his playmaking ability, something the Cowboys offense could desperately use from the TE position. He of course will have to convince the coaching staff he is ready for a larger offensive role in order to steal some playing time from Jason Witten.

Which Dallas Cowboys backups do you think earn a starting role in 2018?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.



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Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady

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Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.



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Amari Cooper Says He’s Focused On Football, Not His Next Contract

Kevin Brady

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Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks 1

It seems like all anyone has talked about this offseason is who the Cowboys should re-sign, and how they can go about doing so.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper, of course, is heavily involved in those conversations. The Cowboys used their 2019 first round pick to trade for the Pro Bowl wide out last season, and Cooper's emergence helped to turn their struggling offense around immediately.

In just 9 games with the Cowboys last season, he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. He quickly gained the trust of quarterback Dak Prescott, and exhibited a chemistry with the young passer that no one else really has to this point. Outside of maybe Cole Beasley in 2016, perhaps.

While the football world seems to be focusing on what Amari Cooper's contract will look like after 2019, the receiver himself claims to be solely focused on the upcoming season. Cooper spoke with ESPN's Todd Archer about this very subject, emphasizing where his mind lies at this time.

"I just handle my business...I'm more anxious about camp and actually playing football." - Amari Cooper.

Amari Cooper has just one year left on his contract as he plays under the fifth year option from his rookie deal. Cooper will make $13.9 million this season, putting him behind some of the league's other WR1s like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins.

There had been speculation around whether any of the Cowboys left with just one year on their contract would hold-out through parts of offseason activity, but Cooper alluded that it never seemed to cross his mind.

"I just want to get better and I love football. That's why I'm here" - Cooper.

Of course, Amari Cooper will play a huge role in the Cowboys offense in 2019. Combining him with a second year version of Michael Gallup, and new versatile threats like Tony Pollard and Randall Cobb, will help make the Dallas passing game as multiple as it's been in years.

The Cowboys will eventually need to get Amari Cooper locked up long term, but for the time being it seems like both he and the franchise are more focused on what will happen on the field in 2019 than in the negotiating room next Spring.



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