Training camp season is fun, but it’s always plagued with storylines that claim players that “feel better than ever before,” and who are at the “best point of their careers.” Every new season comes with new hope for Dallas Cowboys fans that this is our season and that every player who struggled last year will bounce back.
A lot of reports are emerging from training camp, some positive and some negative. Today, I open a Cowboys Stock Market to buy and sell some of the things we expect from players based on what we’ve been hearing from Cowboys’ practices.
Let me know what you’re buying or selling in the comments section below!
Buy: Aldon Smith’s impressive comeback
One of the most brought up names in Cowboys Camp so far is Aldon Smith’s. With the addition of talented veteran Everson Griffen, the defensive end position will be a lot of fun. Aldon Smith hasn’t played a down of football since 2015, but don’t forget just how good he was before suspensions put a halt to his career.
Smith sacked the quarterback 42 times in his first three years in the league over the course of just 43 games. That number alone ranks third in NFL history for players in their first three seasons.
It stands to reason to say Smith won’t reach that level of performance after being away for five years, but if Aldon is 70% of the player he was back then, the Cowboys got themselves a starting-caliber defensive end. Although I believe Griffen will be the one starting games, I’m buying stock on Smith’s comeback to the NFL.
Sell: Trysten Hill will bounce back
As a rookie in 2019, Trysten Hill didn’t set the bar very high. Unfortunately, he spent about half the season as a healthy scratch for the Cowboys. No one really knows what to make out of the former second-round pick out of Central Florida, since we got to see him very few times. He played in only 11% of the team’s defensive snaps.
Things might turn around for the young defensive tackle in 2020 under a new coaching staff, though. Positive reports have emerged from training camp. “Trysten Hill is consistently getting push and causing disruption during reps. He looks like he can be a viable part of this rotation,” reported David Helman on Twitter.
I expect Trysten Hill to have a much better season than he did last season. Gerald McCoy’s injury and release give the sophomore a better chance of seeing the playing field but I’d be surprised if he gets a ton of playing time behind Tyrone Crawford and Neville Gallimore.
Crawford is way more experienced at the position and it sounds like Gallimore, a third-round pick himself, is also having a good camp. A promising note for Hill might be the fact that a lot of the issues that kept him on the sidelines were reportedly off-the-field reasons. If that changes in 2020, we might see a totally different player.
Buy: CeeDee Lamb as seen on Oklahoma
First-round rookies tend to be overhyped, especially when they are coming from top college football programs that constantly play on a national stage, just like the Oklahoma Sooners do. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case for WR CeeDee Lamb.
Practice after practice, reporters have praised Lamb’s performance on training camp. Lamb’s incorporation to the Cowboys’ offense has been automatic. He’s made one-handed catches, he’s had touchdowns in the corner of the endzone, he’s displayed his impressive speed, and has even been training with the special teams unit.
Sure enough, CeeDee will be the steal we’ve all been talking about since April.
Sell: Training camp sacks will continue in the regular season
With Tyron Smith and La’el Collins absent from a lot of training camp so far, we’re hearing a lot of reports about the offensive line getting beat constantly and Dak Prescott being sacked (or pretend sacked) a lot of times. While it’s true the offensive line isn’t 100% healthy right now, it’s fair to be concerned.
Quarterback Dak Prescott is one of the top quarterbacks in this league, but that doesn’t mean his play is perfect. One issue that Dak has faced during his four-year career has been allowing plenty of sacks. In his first three seasons, Dak was sacked 113 times, which represent 7.1% of his dropbacks.
That number dropped to 3.7% in 2019, thanks in big part to the increased use of play-action by offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Per Warren Sharp, Dak’s sack rate dropped from 10.7% without play-action to 1.2% with play-action. Although there’s a new OL Coach in town, I think Joe Philbin’s unit won’t be struggling as much in the regular season when the starting offensive line is out there and the Cowboys are using more play-action.