When people think Dallas Cowboys, household names come to mind.
The new triplets in Big D will have a lot to say about the Cowboys' success in 2016, but what about the 50 players? A decimated defense will need lesser-known talents to step up, and role players will need to take some pressure off the offense as well.
Look for these underrated talents to help the cause in 2016, just not receive the praise.
When I think of Brice Butler, I can't help remembering Laurent Robinson. Robinson stepped in as the number-three wide receiver in 2011 and broke out for 11 touchdowns in 14 games, which led the team.
Tony Romo has the ability to make everyone around him better. Butler has flashed some ability this preseason too, specifically shining with Dak Prescott. I have spoken on the menacing inconsistency of Terrance Williams, and Butler has a clear opportunity to rise up this year.
Expect Brice Butler to become a name fans will remember this year, as he breaks out as a nice deep threat for Romo.
Ezekiel Elliott is receiving all the press since the draft, but it's been Alfred Morris thriving this offseason. To be fair, he has been the definition of underrated his entire career.
In his four years with the Washington Redskins, all he did was rush for over 1,000 yards three times. He is a model of consistency and his performance last week against Miami continued to prove his worth.
As the team approaches the third preseason game, this deep Dallas backfield hasn't really lived up to that name. Elliott will finally see time this Thursday, but the statuses of Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden remain uncertain.
Considering the small contract Morris received this offseason, he is clearly underrated.
Expect Morris to act as the change-of-pace back for Elliott, and then some. He has proven he can at least be an effective starter if Elliott is slow out of the gate. And if the rookie fails to live up to the hype, Morris will carry the load this year.
If the Dallas rushing attack skips a beat or two this year, James Hanna's injury will play a part. Jason Witten has been one of the most complete tight ends in football over the past decade, but Hanna's impact on the team can't be ignored.
He's the guy you can rely on to battle in the trenches and grind as a blocking tight end. He is capable of getting dirty and making the unseen plays that matter. When Dallas wants to run the ball 30 plus times a game, the loss of Hanna hurts. Gavin Escobar has failed to live up to the hype as a second rounder as well. If the team wants to return to 2014 form, James Hanna needs to get healthy soon.
The talk of the offseason for the Dallas defense has been the suspensions. The front-seven once looking nice on paper is now one of the league's worst. But how about the secondary? I could argue a few Dallas cornerbacks are looking at breakout seasons (Byron Jones and Morris Claiborne), but went with Orlando Scandrick for a few reasons.
He's tough, and a corner who can cover well in the slot. He can tackle too, which is a plus. For the 2015 season, he ranked 14th on Bleacher Report's list of Top NFL Corners. I wonder how much better he would be if he actually had a pass rush on his side.
When the top NFL cornerbacks are mentioned, his name remains off the list, but he is a solid, underrated player. I expect big results from the Dallas secondary this year, anchored by Scandrick.
In an offseason full of bad headlines for the Cowboys, it will be refreshing to see some unsung heroes steal a few positive ones.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
REPORT: Cowboys Negotiating Trade with Dolphins for DE Robert Quinn
According to a report just minutes ago, the Dallas Cowboys are visiting with Miami Dolphins' Defensive End Robert Quinn today as part of a possible trade. Miami is looking for a trade partner to try to get something back for Quinn before making him a salary cap casualty.
Quinn is in the final year of his contract and is set to count $12.9 million against the Dolphins' salary cap. Most of that is his base salary of $11.8 million, which Miami is reportedly willing to pay part of to help facilitate a trade.
Robert Quinn was spotted today on his way to visit the #Cowboys, who are in trade talks with the #Dolphins for the veteran DE, sources say. Quinn would need to agree to any deal. So, this is another step in the process, with a Dallas team that obviously needs pass rush.
The Cowboys need DE help with DeMarcus Lawrence's contract still unresolved and Randy Gregory now indefinitely suspended for another drug policy violation. They signed Kerry Hyder from the Lions yesterday, but he isn't a proven commodity like Quinn.
Turning 29 in May, Robert Quinn is a two-time Pro Bowler and former first-round pick of the Rams. He hasn't had the same production in recent years but still had 6.5 sacks for Miami in 2018 and 8.5 the prior year with Los Angeles.
Ever the bargain shoppers these days, Dallas is probably hoping to get Quinn for late-round draft pick or perhaps a pick swap.
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