It is peak offseason time, meaning there isn’t much new information to talk about. Still, we continue to churn out Cowboys content for you good folks who keep on coming back to discuss America’s Team.
Much of our content this time of year must involve speculation, and what’s more fun to speculate about than next year’s Pro Bowl (a bit of sarcasm).
After sending rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to their first career Pro Bowl in 2016, there are some new likely candidates to make their first appearance in 2017. Featuring another talented rookie class and some quality veterans which have yet to earn the honor, there are multiple Cowboys who should have a strong candidacy to be Pro Bowlers next season.
So without further adieu, here are three Cowboys players who can make that leap from good to elite in the eyes of the voters.
Byron Jones, Safety
For some reason, Byron Jones has become one of the most controversial players on the Cowboys roster. Some call him a late first round steal, and others have gone so far as to say he is a bust.
While the turnovers and “splash” plays haven’t been there, Jones is far from a bust, and may have a strong case for Cowboys captaincy in 2017. The next-most consistent player on this defense second to only Sean Lee, Byron Jones brings athleticism and versatility to a secondary which had lacked both in previous years.
Now surrounded by some equally versatile and talented cornerbacks, I expect Jones to make a big leap in his third year and have a chance to become a Pro Bowler.
Even if the Pro Bowl honors don’t come, I don’t anticipate many people will be arguing over whether or not Jones is a “bust” after this upcoming season.
Jaylon Smith, LB
Is it too early for this?
I know he is yet to play a snap in the NFL, and he hasn’t even played football in over a year, but Jaylon Smith has all the potential. If he can play like his Notre Dame self Smith has a chance to see a rise in his first season similar to that of Dak and Zeke, earning him Pro Bowl honors.
Smith already has the fan-fare around him as well, so as long as his performance warrants consideration, I’m sure Cowboys Nation can make it happen with the voting.
The jury is still out on if Jaylon Smith will even be a good professional player, or will be able to remain healthy enough to have a full career. But based off potential alone, he deserves a spot on this list.
La’el Collins, OL
Whether he ends up at right tackle of left guard this season, third year offensive lineman La’el Collins has a shot to be the fourth Pro Bowler on that vaunted Dallas Cowboys offensive line.
Collins has flashed All-Pro potential before, but inconsistency and injury have plagued him over his first two professional seasons. Still, with a couple of years in the league under his belt, it is time for Collins to take that next step in his career.
In terms of ceilings, it could be argued La’el Collins has the highest of any offensive linemen under 25 in the entire league. At just 23 years of age and loaded with talent, I see no reason why 2017 shouldn’t be a breakout season for Collins.
If all goes well for the Cowboys in 2017, all three of these players will have legitimate cases to make their first career Pro Bowl. Hopefully, they will be too busy the next week to even participate, however.