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5 Potential Sleepers Ahead of Cowboys 2022 Season

A common consequence of the is that new arrivals steal the spotlight away from some of the returning talent. The Dallas Cowboys 2022 roster has some examples of that, plus a few other players who seem to be flying under the radar as we prepare for .

Today let's look at five players who may not getting enough attention in current discussions. Some felt this shift a few weeks ago with the Cowboys' latest draft class, but others have been battling obscurity since the start of the .

DE Dorance Armstrong

Re-signed in March as part of the plan to replace , Armstrong is coming off a career-high five in 2021. But since was drafted in the 2nd Round last month, Dorance is starting to feel more like an afterthought in Dallas' pass-rushing rotation.

The “shiny new toy” mentality is inescapable; a natural byproduct of the hype and grandeur of the NFL's annual draft process. But while Williams bring intrigue and wonder as a new player in the mix, Armstrong has four years of experience and the momentum of his career-high production under .

To be sure, Armstrong, Williams, and veteran should all see snaps as the Cowboys look to keep fresh players attacking opposing quarterbacks. But while we're all eager to see Sam Williams defy the Cowboys' modern with 2nd-round picks, he will have to be truly remarkable as a rookie to keep Dorance off the field.

Assuming repeats as Dallas' sack leader in 2022, don't be surprised if is second on the list. He will get his best opportunity yet with Gregory gone and, with a modest two-year deal, should still be hungry to prove he deserves even greater compensation.

Will Grier
Cowboys QB (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

QB Will Grier

finally proved that he could step in and win in 2021, albeit for one game, and seems to have a stronger hold on the backup QB job than ever before. But Will Grier will get his first real shot at competing with Rush for the role in 2022 and shouldn't be quickly dismissed.

A 3rd-round pick in 2019 for Carolina, Grier was released by the Panthers at final cuts last year and claimed off waivers by Dallas. This will be his first offseason with the team, which is a tremendous difference for his system familiarity and ability to now contend with Rush.

Someone in Dallas' thought enough of Grief's potential to add him to the official roster last year and keep him there throughout the season. The Cowboys have already looked for an upgrade from Cooper Rush once before, dumping him for in 2020. It would appear they're exploring that option again.

Sure, Rush got it done last year in Minnesota. But that one game won't be enough to keep him unchallenged in 2022, and Will Grier will at least get a fair fight this year.

TE Sean McKeon

Everyone's ready to hand the backup job to 4th-round rookie Jake Fergsuon. But Sean McKeon has been here for two years and can't be forgotten in the TE competition.

After watching take a few years himself to earn playing time, why should we assume that Ferguson will ascend any faster? kept Schultz at bay for two years despite being an undrafted prospect and McKeon has been similarly groomed since 2020.

Again, we're seeing recency bias toward Ferguson and that's only natural. But sleeping on McKeon as TE2 next season would border on foolish. The Cowboys haven't protected him with a roster the last two years for nothing, and now he's entering that critical third season when many players finally blossom.

5 Potential Sleepers Ahead of Cowboys 2022 Season
Cowboys WR

WR James Washington

No, he's no . But addition James Washington is far from a nobody and will give rookie all he can handle for the WR3 role.

Washington was a 2nd-round pick in 2018 by Pittsburgh. He never claimed a consistent starting role but did start 25 of the 60 games he played in. James was also caught in the middle of Ben Roethlisberger's and declining performance during the QB's career twilight.

Quick as many are to anoint Tolbert to the new “Big 3” of Dallas' receivers, Washington has a dramatic experience . And if he finds a better fit with the Cowboys than he did in Pittsburgh, James might finally show what the Steeles were so high on him a few years ago.

It may not matter in the long run. 's likely absences and other unforeseen issues should give both Tolbert and Washington plenty of targets. But don't be surprised if the veteran is next man up when the season begins.

CB Nahshon Wright

We saw very little of the 2021 3rd-rounder last season with , , and locked into their roles. then got healthy and scooped up any table scraps that came along the latter part of the season.

Wright was immediately tabbed as a raw talent who would need professional before he could contribute. But with the big body that Dan Quinn loves in his and strong athletic potential, could Nahshon make a leap in his second year?

The Cowboys can't help but think about the future at CB this year. Brown will be a free agent in 2023 and Lewis could be a cap casualty. The team is counting on Wright and Joseph to be ready for larger roles next year and would love to invest in them with more snaps now. As long as the young guys prove they can handle it, they could ascend the depth chart sooner than later.

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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David Bednarz

Not sure why anyone is not talking about Storey Jackson as flying under the radar. This guy reminds me alot of Darren Woodson. Thoughts? Watch his film before responding… He can be a gem under DQ if he stays healthy…

Roger Dickson

Am Big fan of Story as said before he will make team roster for depth at linebacker but overall special teams first. This guy can flatout play period. Bill Parcells used to say that guy is a football player. Attitude that would rival anybody. I hope Dallas see him like I do. Peace.

Cowboys fan

I think Donte Fowler could be a sleeper too!! With him playing under DC Dan Quinn, where Quinn can put his focus on nothing but the defense, I think Fowler has the potential to get back to his Ram days where he had 11.5 sacks!! It’ll be hard for him to get quite that many sacks since I’m sure he’ll be rotated in and out of the lineup with Armstrong and Williams, but I think he can get more sacks than Armstrong and Williams this year!! But that’s just my opinion…. We’ll just have to wait and see!!

dossrodsr

One of the things I like about this team is the fact there are so many sleepers.

lonewolfz28

Armstrong’s advantage is he’s able to play the run better than Fowler or Williams. Look for him to play RDE on 1st down and 50/50 probability running downs. I expect they’ll swap in Chauncey Golston on short yardage and other obvious running downs.

Not sure Grier has the maturity and what it takes between the ears. I’d love for him to surprise me.

I like what McKeon has shown in flashes. Can he stay healthy and can he earn Dak’s trust? If so, he’s got a good chance to at least be the #3 TE.

As much as Washington used to frustrate me as a Sooners fan, he hasn’t shown he can build rapport with anyone other than his college QB. With a QB like Dak where trust is everything, he might not even make it through camp. Even though he’s built like a slot WR, he doesn’t have much experience there and hasn’t exactly excelled in his limited opportunities there. He’s a vertical receiver without exceptional speed or length. Despite his limited length, he’s good at bringing in contested balls. But, Dak doesn’t like throwing into obviously contested situations unless his receiver has some kind of advantage and/or his trust.

Nahshon Wright needs to seriously clean up his penalties. Five penalties for a guy who played very limited snaps is not good at all. Yeah, he was a rookie with a lot of rawness to overcome. It would be great if he steps up and makes one of Brown or Lewis expendable.

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