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Cowboys RB Tony Pollard is Most Critical Rookie to 2019 Success

Jess Haynie



Tony Pollard

Tony Pollard had to wait until Saturday to hear his name called in the 2019 NFL Draft. But despite being a fourth-round pick, the Dallas Cowboys' new running back should be more critical to the team's success in 2019 than any other rookie. That includes the two drafted ahead of him, DT Trysten Hill and OL Connor McGovern.

This statement may sound silly to some of you. Given that Dallas already has a franchise RB in Ezekiel Elliott, are we exaggerating how important Pollard or any other RB could be this season?

Well, let's look at the other rookies for comparison. We can quickly dismiss any of the players drafted after Pollard; I wrote yesterday about how they will all struggle to even make the 2019 roster. Barring injuries or some unexpected scenario, the rookies from Rounds 5-7 will be hoping just to be at the bottom of their positions' depth charts.

How about 3rd-round pick Connor McGovern? Ideally, we won't see McGovern on the field except for a meaningless Week 17 finale. He was a luxury pick whose was taken more with 2020 in view, preparing for the likely departures of La'el Collins and Joe Looney in free agency. Connor should remain behind both Looney and Cam Fleming, the team's primary reserve linemen, this season.

The debate really comes down to Tony Pollard and Trysten Hill. Which of these rookies has the best opportunity to make an impact in 2019, and who will be relied on the most to do so?

Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill

While Hill is likely to be active and part of the rotation at defensive tackle this year, he still has to contend with some solid veterans. Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, and Antwaun Woods are all returning from last season. Now there's also Christian Covington, a fifth-year vet who Dallas signed in free agency this year.

Unless Trysten hits the ground running in an exceptional way, he is going to have an uphill climb to earn playing time over these players. Some would argue that Hill's situation isn't that different from Connor McGovern's; he's here for a year of development before replacing guys like Collins and Crawford in 2020.

The point here is that if Hill and McGovern don't play much in 2019, be it by design or by injury, the team shouldn't feel the loss that much. And even if these guys do play a lot, their impact potential as rookies is unlikely to exceed their veteran teammates.

This is where Tony Pollard is different.

Not only may he be relied upon for a crucial role, but Pollard has a chance to bring a unique element to the offense. He can potentially give Dallas something it hasn't had since at least Lance Dunbar, and hopefully to a greater degree than Dunbar was capable of.

Tony Pollard

Nov 3, 2017; Tulsa, OK, USA; Memphis Tigers running back Tony Pollard (1) carries the ball to score a touchdown in the first half against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. (David D. Stacy-USA TODAY Sports)

Unlike any of his fellow Dallas rookies, Pollard is already projected to be the immediate backup at his position. Not only that, but he will likely walk in as the new kick returner and could compete for the job on punts as well.

Ideally, Tony's role in Dallas will extend even beyond those duties.

If Kellen Moore's offense takes advantage if versatile players the way we hope, then a guy like Pollard could become a consistent contributor. We could see him line him up at RB and then move out to WR, or get plenty of looks on screen passes.

There may even be pure run plays, like tosses or sweeps, where Tony Pollard's speed makes him the best RB for the play over Ezekiel Elliott.

While we certainly don't expect Tony to ever eclipse Zeke, like Alvin Kamara did over Mark Ingram in New Orleans, the potential is there for the rookie to get substantial playing time. None of his fellow rookies have it so easy.

If the Cowboys do decide they can rely on Pollard, it could lead them to cut the incumbent return specialist and gadget player in Tavon Austin. That would only increase Pollard's criticality to the team's success.

So, fourth round be damned, Tony Pollard projects to have the most responsibility of any of Dallas' rookies in 2019. Even if guys like Trysten Hill and Connor McGovern surpass him in future years, Pollard's immediate opportunities at running back, receiver, and on special teams make him the most important rookie this season.

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!


Dallas Cowboys

Is 2019 Wide Receiver Group Best Dak Prescott Has Worked With?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Sean's Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title

Dak Prescott will be leading the Dallas Cowboys offense for the fourth consecutive year in what has been a very unlikely career. In three seasons, he's led the Cowboys to two NFC East titles and one playoff win. He's done so with quality offenses, starting by a strong offensive line and an elite running back in Ezekiel Elliott. During his career in Dallas he's had some solid receivers, but he hasn't played with a group as strong as the one he'll have in the upcoming 2019 season.

This year's starters will be headlined by Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb. Although there's many other intriguing players to watch at the position, those three are the presumed starting three.

Despite the big debate among fans and analysts, Prescott has been able to win games for this football team. Perhaps his worst came at the beginning of last season, when the team's plan of not having a WR1 backfired terribly.

In the first seven weeks of the 2018 season, Dak averaged only 202 yards per game. In that span he threw for less than 200 yards in four games. Once the team traded for Cooper, that average rose all the way up to 274 yards per game. He threw for less than 200 yards in only one occasion since then.

Michael Gallup Has Become a Sponge, Soaking up as Much as Possible

Michael Gallup is poised for a breakout season after a rookie season in which he improved every week. The Cowboys' 2018 third-round pick didn't get as much playing time at the beginning of the season as he fought for snaps with Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin among others. In the postseason, Gallup caught six passes for 119 yards. He still has a long way to go, but the talent is clearly there.

As for Randall Cobb, many fans have doubts. He's coming in to replace Cole Beasley, who was such an effective slot wide receiver. Cobb's style will likely be different, and although he might not be as good at shaking defenders off as ol' #11, he'll be more of a downfield threat than Beasley.

Comparing this starting group to the ones from prior years, it really seems like the best Dak Prescott has worked with. During his first couple of years in the league, Dak played with a Dez Bryant that (like it or not) wasn't anywhere close to his peak. 2016-2017 Dez wasn't on last year's Amari Cooper's level. Williams had his moments, but wasn't consistent and was well-known as a body-catcher.

This year's group has its question marks, that's for sure. Randall Cobb hasn't played a full season since 2015 due to injuries and Michael Gallup doesn't have a ton of experience and is yet to breakout. Even still, it seems like Prescott will have a great group of pass-catchers to help him lead the Cowboys to another NFC East title. It'll be an interesting fourth year for the young Cowboys quarterback. It's definitely good to see he'll have help.

Tell me what you think about "Is 2019 Wide Receiver Group Best Dak Prescott Has Worked With?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Offensive Tackle

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys: Ranking Top 5 Most Indispensable Players 2
AP Photo/James D Smith

The Dallas Cowboys appear to be bringing back the same key trip of players at offensive tackle from last year. But with talk that 2019 could be La'el Collins' last season in Dallas, will we see signs that the Cowboys are preparing for future changes in how they handle the position in this year's training camp?

With Tyron Smith as an All-Pro fixture at left tackle, and Cameron Fleming re-signed this offseason to be the swing tackle, the intrigue swirls around Collins and his impending free agency in 2020. If the Cowboys have no intention of paying La'el what he can command on the open market, what might they do now to lay the groundwork for Collins' exit?

Here's a quick look at the projected OT depth chart for 2019 camp:

  1. Tyron Smith, La'el Collins
  2. Cam Fleming, Jake Campos
  3. Mitch Hyatt, Derrick Puni, Brandon Knight

As was just said, the returning top three are locked in to those spots. Campos is a carryover from last year's practice squad, so that experience gives him a potential edge over the three undrafted rookies.

Back to the top, though, and this situation with La'el Collins. If Dallas had Collins locked up for years to come, they would likely only keep the two starters and Fleming as a backup. A fourth OT is unlikely to be active on game days, and they have Guard Connor Williams' college experience as a tackle in case of an emergency.

If the Cowboys are truly thinking that La'el won't be back in 2020, perhaps they use a roster spot now to hang on to a player who they value for depth next year.

Mitch Hyatt

Dallas Cowboys OT Mitch Hyatt

This is where undrafted rookie Mitch Hyatt becomes an intriguing figure in this 2019 camp. He comes from a championship college program at Clemson and was projected as a late-round pick this year. Dallas made him a priority free agent signing after the draft.

Of course, Campos, Knight, or Puni have the potential to make some noise as well. But Hyatt would seem to have the most upside of the group, and Dallas might be willing to consider him as a 2020 swing tackle option if he can hit the ground running in camp this year.

Cam Fleming is also going to need to have a strong camp to help the Cowboys' in their strategy. Letting Collins go would be predicated on their comfort level with Fleming as the right tackle next year. If he struggles now, then doesn't get much playing time in the regular season, that would likely shake their confidence.

The final result of all this talk could be that La'el Collins and Dallas actually do figure out a way to continue their relationship. But when the Cowboys drafted Connor McGovern in the third round of this last draft it felt like a future-pointed move, with Collins' projected departure the likely impetus for the investment.

What we may wind up seeing is McGovern taking over at left guard and allowing Connor Williams to replace Collins at tackle. But that's a discussion better saved for next offseason.

You can read more about La'el Collins impending free agency in this recent article by our own Kevin Brady. A few weeks back, I also discussed the idea that Dallas should trade Collins now rather than lose him as a free agent next year.

For now, the offensive tackles in 2019 should have continuity and stability. But if we really pay attention in this training camp and preseason, we may see signs of what the Cowboys are planning to do at the position in the coming years.

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Randall Cobb Will Be a Different Slot WR for Cowboys

Mauricio Rodriguez



Randall Cobb

The Dallas Cowboys signing Randall Cobb might just be the most underrated move of their offseason. For less than five million dollars, they got an experienced wide receiver who is only 28 years old. The former Green Bay Packer has had a solid career wearing green and yellow and now gets the chance to play with the Cowboys' colors. But what can we expect from the veteran wideout?

There are some players who are absolute locks to make the 53-man roster and Cobb is one of them. That much is clear. On the depth chart, he probably sits behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, who will likely be the number one and number two receivers, respectively.

With Cole Beasley departing to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, Cobb is expected to take his place as the offense's starting slot receiver. Cowboys Nation knows very well just how good Beasley was at playing in the slot. His ability to shake defenders off was really impressive and his hands were reliable. However, we might see something different from Cobb.

Cowboys en Español: La Afortunada Llegada de Randall Cobb

Yes, it all points toward him playing the same position, but don't expect him to be a Beasley 2.0. This is of course, not a bad thing. Something fans consistently complained about Scott Linehan's offense were the short routes receivers had to run. In Cobb's short time with the Cowboys, we're seeing deeper routes even out of the slot position.

Bryan Broaddus from wrote: "the ball to Cobb even playing out of the slot is further down the field. We hadn’t seen that from Cole Beasley and visually it looks different."

This should be exciting for Cowboys fans, specially considering all the positive reviews on new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. What we see from Randall Cobb in 2019 could be very different from what we had seen from Beasley in prior years.

It's also worth mentioning that word is Cobb has quickly developed an important chemistry with his new quarterback, Dak Prescott. Beasley was very important in Prescott's rookie season, when he averaged 52.1 yards per game and accounted for five touchdowns.

While Beasley was an important receiver for Cowboys, he wasn't really known as a team leader. Cowboys reporter Lindsay Cash Draper wrote about Cobb's leadership skills will carry on to the team whether he's doing it intentionally or not. It's always good to have such presences out there on the training field to spark the team.

Randall Cobb won't be this team's #1 guy or anything like that, but he will surely contribute every week. When we look back to this offseason, I believe this signing will look like a great move by the Cowboys' front office.

Tell me what you think about "Randall Cobb Will Be a Different Slot WR for Cowboys" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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